WWF appeals construction of Swiss luxury resort

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The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and two local environmental groups have asked Switzerland's top court to stop the construction of a Russian-financed luxury Alpine resort, it said Monday.

"The WWF, the Swiss Landscape Conservation Foundation and Patrimoine Suisse are asking the Federal Tribunal to settle the case of the Aminona Luxury Resort project," the Swiss branch of WWF said in statement.

According to the website of the Mollens municipality where the ski resort is to be built, the project will cost 350 million to 400 million francs (294 million to 336 million euros) and is to be funded by a group of Russian investors.

Also called "Le Village Royal", the resort's website says it will consist of a 315-room hotel, eight ten-to-fourteen floor towers with Japanese gardens and a spa, chalets for 47 families with "cold storage for your furs", as well as luxury ski facilities.

The WWF said some of the plans were not approved by the Valais cantonal authorities, and parts are to be built in protected areas.

It also expressed concerns the project would lead to "cold beds" -- a term used for lodgings which are not used full-time.

"The medium-term economic -- and not just environmental -- consequences (of the project) for the region could well end up being negative," WWF added.

© 2011 AFP

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