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Vallfosca Mountain Resort, Catalonia, Spain


The unfinished resort in the Vall Fosca (western Catalan Pyrenees), is a development project stopped since 2008 when the firm that was in charge went bankrupt, at the time that major consequences of the financial crisis affecting Europe, particularly the south, started to appear.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Vallfosca Mountain Resort, Catalonia, Spain
State or province:Catalonia
Location of conflict:La Torre de Cabdella
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Tourism Recreation
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific commodities:Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

9-hole golf course (extendable to 18).

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Project area:3,414
Level of Investment:667,843,055
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:700
Start of the conflict:25/11/2003
Company names or state enterprises:Martinsa-Fadesa S.A. from Spain
Vallfosca Interllacs from Spain - Company leading the development until 2007
Relevant government actors:Regional Government: Generalitat de Catalunya.
Local Government: Ajuntament de la Torre de Cabdella.
Province Authority: Diputacio de Lleida.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Vall Fosca Activa
Mountain Wilderness
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Noise pollution, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
The construction company went bankrupt, leaving the project half-finished being its final completion uncertain.
Development of alternatives:Advocate for a different type of development not based on speculation and big resorts. Diversification of activities and support for farmers dedicated to extensive livestock.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The courts fail to stop the project and the opposition was not strong enough. Damaged to the environment was caused and there was no compensation after works were abandoned.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Llei 12/2006, de 27 de juliol, de mesures en matèria de medi ambient
[click to view]

Decret 328/1992 pel qual s'aprova el Pla d'espais d'interès natural
[click to view]

Llei 12/1985 d'espais naturals
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Ismael Vaccaro et Oriol Beltran, « The mountainous space as a commodity: the Pyrenees at the age of globalization », Revue de Géographie Alpine | Journal of Alpine Research [on-line], 97-3 | 2009.
[click to view]

Barrachina, M. (2007). The effects of land use change on landscape: the case of Vall Fosca (Catalan Pyrenees). MAN IN THE LANDSCAPE ACROSS FRONTIERS – IGU-LUCC CENTRAL EUROPE CONFERENCE.
[click to view]

Velasco, M. J. P. (Ed.). (2008). Naturbanization: new identities and processes for rural-natural areas. CRC Press.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Article in Spanish describing ski resort failed projects in the Pyrenees during the last years.
[click to view]

Contextualization of the development of the project in 2008 before its interruption (in Catalan). More descriptions from other years available in the same website.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Documentary in Catalan about the village of Espui done by a woman who was born there and comes back to look for her roots and observe the state of the village after the resort project was abandoned.
[click to view]

Website with picture and descriptions in Spanish about the unfinished works of the resort project.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Alfred Burballa-Noria
Last update27/08/2014
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