Canua Island launches in the Bay of Cannes despite opposition 

canua island

The floating party venue of Canua Island has officially made its debut excursion into Riviera waters, but it has not all been smooth sailing as mayors from some 20 different locales on the coast have signed a joint letter opposing the unique vessel. 

Last week, around 300 VIP guests, from influencers to members of the media, boarded the 1,700 m² craft, which had dropped anchor out in the Bay of Cannes, just off the coast of the town of Mandelieu-La Napoule.  

It was an extravagant affair, a celebration worthy of the six to seven years of work it has taken to get the project in the water, according to those present.  

The Canua Island concept, which reportedly cost €16 million, is a floating beach, bar, restaurant and lounge space across two huge decks. It features a pool and a docking station for the private tenders that ferry guests from the shore to the trimaran-style vessel. 

Marc Audineau and Tony Philp, the two men behind the project, had been hoping to launch Canua Island back in spring 2023, but came up against fierce opposition from local authorities. Ultimately, their case was heard in court. In August last year, the Administrative Court of Nice ruled in Audineau and Philp’s favour.  

But according to France 3, challenges are continuing to come. In a joint statement printed by the newspaper, 21 mayors from towns and cities in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var departments have affirmed their stance against Canua Island: 

“This activity can only generate nuisances that will seriously impact the integrity of the natural environment and affect wildlife: aquatic and airborne sound waves, permanent motorboat traffic for transporting clients and staff, artificial night-time lighting, etc. 

The risk of pollution due to waste collection, gray and black water recovery, provisioning, onboard activities and weather-related hazards cannot be dismissed… This commercial exploitation of the marine environment directly contradicts the commitments of our coastal Mediterranean municipalities’ signatory to the Pelagos Sanctuary Charter to ensure maximum protection for marine mammals, as well as the Zero Plastic Waste charters and the Commitment Charter for ‘Plages de Caractère’ in the Mediterranean.  

It also creates unacceptable economic distortions vis-à-vis year-round open tourism establishments subject to taxation regimes that hinder their operation and development.”

Among those who have signed the letter are Nice’s Christian Estrosi, Georges Botella of Théoule-sur-Mer, Patrick Césari of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Roland Bruno of Ramatuelle and Sylvie Siri of Saint Tropez. Renaud Muselier, the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, also added his signature.  

Canua Island’s creators, however, argue that the vessel has been built with the upmost attention to green technologies and environmentally-friendly features.

In a statement published on social media to mark the launch of the vessel, the Canua Island team said, “The world finally gets to see this nomadic island – the first and only one of its kind in existence. The Canua journey has been an emotional roller coaster not only for us but also for anyone who has followed our story. Now everyone can enjoy this unique piece of paradise even though she will operate initially as an events venue only… A special thanks should go out to the town of Mandelieu and the mayor himself, Sebastien Leroy, who has been a staunch supporter of this innovative destination since the beginning… Canua island was conceived respecting the environment, which is fundamental in today’s world and is consistent with the vision and philosophy of the two founders, who are two sailors in love with the sea [sic].”

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