Everything you need to know about the seawater swimming pool project at the foot of the MuCem

This time it’s the right one. After an opening delayed by technical problems, the MuCem “swimming pool” will indeed see the light of day. On Friday, a report on this “MuCem-Plage” project, which aims to transform the basin at the foot of the MuCem, initially planned to be a port, into a real swimming area in which to take a dip, will be put to the vote. 20 minutes make the point.

What is the project concretely?

In the report submitted to the vote on Friday, the municipality proposes to develop and equip the eastern dock of the J4 esplanade in Marseille, as well as its adjoining land areas, “to open it free of charge for swimming during the three months of “been in compliance with the regulations in force”. And added: “This involves setting up a swimming surveillance system, safety and accessibility equipment for all audiences, as well as public services to accommodate users in comfortable conditions. optimal. » Developments which must be reversible, according to the deputy mayor in charge of the coast, Hervé Menchon, who is leading this project, currently designed by the Pierre Louis design office.

In detail, the future “MuCem-Plage” will notably include an infirmary and lockers. “There will be toilets, but not necessarily a shower,” adds the elected official, who specifies: “The idea is perhaps to add a swimming line to this pool for a public with more sporty activities, but this is not the characteristic of this MuCem-Plage operation, which aims to be fun and seaside. » Also, the deputy mayor “would like to be able to have a diving board, but as part of a supervised activity with awareness of the danger of diving. Today it is a practice anchored in Marseille but pirate and dangerous.” Every year, many Marseillais jump from the top of the Corniche Kennedy, despite the practice being banned due to its dangerousness. The phenomenon was even the subject of a film released in 2017.

Like other beaches in Marseille, swimming will be supervised in this pool, which has the particularity of being steep. “There are still tides and therefore current in this basin,” notes Hervé Menchon. We are therefore considering rest buoys, perhaps devices which break the currents or on the contrary which use it for a wave pool effect. » The elected official also promises monitoring of the quality of bathing water like those already practiced elsewhere on the coast.

The question of shade remains to be resolved, on a bitumen beach where the mercury risks rising quickly. “It appears today that with the heatwaves and excessive heat, people have become aware of the dangers of the sun and there is now a real demand for shade,” notes Hervé Menchon. Mister or no mister? Parasol or no parasol? All of this is already the subject of an analysis phase. »

It’s for when ?

The creation of this swimming pool had been on the table for several months and should have even happened last summer. But a technical setback delayed this opening. “We must transform this space intended for boating into a space for a human user,” recalls Hervé Menchon. It is a very deep pool with a hollow of 3 m below, so we have to have an anti-swell device at the risk of having a real human trap. »

This constraint now added to the file, the deputy mayor hopes for an opening soon. “Initially, the agenda for this basin will be aligned with that of the bathing season, which begins in 2024 on June 1,” indicates Hervé Menchon. The 2024 and 2025 seasons will serve as an experiment for the project, before “sustainability” whose form remains to be defined. However, the pool will not be open day and night for security reasons.

How much does it cost ?

In the deliberation voted on Friday, the Marseille town hall plans a budget of €1,860,000 between 2023 and 2026, and in particular €807,168 in 2024 and €835,632 in 2025, part of which should be covered by the departmental council and the State through the Water Agency.

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