'Olympics are not sustainable': Pyrenees residents speak out against bid to host 2030 games
Activists plan protest and call for date of citizens' vote on Barcelona-Pyrenees candidacy to be set
"No matter how they disguise them and no matter how 'green' they make their lies out to look, the Winter Olympics are not nor will they be sustainable."
This is what the Plataforma Stop JJOO grassroots group has to say about the possible 2030 Barcelona-Pyrenees Winter Olympics.
If this bid, which has been endorsed by the Catalan government, to host the games in nine years' time is successful, it would "turn the Pyrenees into a theme park for people from Barcelona," warns Plataforma Stop JJOO spokesperson Bernat Lavaquiol, who says the candidacy is being prepared "from offices in Barcelona that are under pressure from construction and tourism lobbies."
In an attempt to bring the message home, the group is planning a large demonstration in Catalonia's northern Cerdanya county, likely to take place in late October. They also demand that the date of the local referendum to gauge support for the bid be set as well as for this vote to be binding.
Stop JJOO spoke at length about this and its other games-related worries at its first-ever press conference on Monday, which was held in the Cerdanya town of Bellver in an area where apartment buildings are being built.
Helena Guillén, another one of the group's spokespeople, explained that this was done to highlight the effects of over-tourism in the area, with vacation rental homes and second homes bringing up prices for locals and aggravating population loss.
According to Guillén, Plataforma Stop JJOO is not against tourism, but rather an overreliance on one economic sector, especially as climate change has already had an adverse effect on skiing in the area.