The question arose as soon as the creation of a day center at the Jules Ferry leisure center site was announced, and even more when it was it was decided to concentrate the Exiles on the neighbouring land. Why in this place ? So near to the crossing, the port just under the ring road leading to it, which in that period several times a week had truck jams tailing back several kilometers onto the ring road.
For the center Jules Ferry, the answer was quickly found: the municipality wanted to move the leisure center, the associations who used it did not want to. On the occasion of the negotiations to install the Exiles on the site, the municipality negotiated funding from the state to build a new leisure center at the other end of town.
For the land, an article in La Voix du Nord asked the question following a statement from the Mayor of Calais there had fo a long time been an incompleted extention project for the Industrial Park of the Dunes, unrealized, and the site has between time been classified as an Area of Natural Ecological Interest, Fauna and Flora (SSSI). Install a few thousand people, then bulldoze and level it and all the ecological interest, flora and fauna disappears, and you have land ready to develop.
However, things have to be taken with caution. The mayor of Calais likes to be shown as struggling against obstacles to the prosperity of the town, which would be part of the “migrants”, seemingly to forget the general context of economic crisis and the trend of deindustrialization. Neither is she a big fan either of windfall projects whose implementation is often risky.
The argument of a property or economic project on the other hand often been used to justify the destruction of squats or camps. Such as the “Jungle of Afghans” in 2009, located in the industrial area of the Dunes: less than 10% of the land is now occupied by a business. And there are many examples of destruction leaving the space as wasteland for several years.
But nothing contradicts that the inhabitants of the largest slum in France were merely used as pawns in the game of property speculation.