Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Nov. 8, 2016


Liberal Party seeking 10M kr. more for Longyearbyen
The Liberal Party is seeking 10 million kroner more for Longyearbyen in next year’s national budget than what the Conservative-led government is proposing. The city received an inflation-adjusted allocation of 151.3 million kroner in the proposed budget. Among the increases sought by the Liberal Party leaders are five-million kroner for “Arctic infrastructure measures” and 3.5 million kroner for “initiatives within the childhood sector.” Deputy Mayor Eirik Berger, who is the local Liberal Party leader, said the request shows the party takes Svalbard seriously. “That the Liberal Party is entering into negotiations with the government parties with the aim to increase the subsidy to Longyearbyen’s municipal government shows that the party is putting itself in the driver’s seat when it comes to Svalbard policy,” he said. “We have locally been consulted several times during the process and feel that we have been taken seriously during the year we have been in local government.” The party elected its first members to the Longyearbyen Community Council during last fall’s election and the three members were decisive in allowing the Labor Party to form a majority coalition.

Two power outages in past week – but not during storm
Longyearbyen suffered two power outages for different reasons during the past week but, despite concerns about heavy rain causing additional outages the lights stayed on during the deluge Monday night and Tuesday. The first outage occurred last Wednesday morning due to an error in a grid substation at Mine 7, according to Kim Rune Røkenes. the city’s chief engineer. “We have to replace the entire switchgear there,” he said. Power was restored about an hour later. The second outage occurred at about 8:30 a.m. Monday while city workers were preparing for the oncoming storm, Rokenes said. He said workers were working at a power subfacility at Vei 219 when an error in a switch caused a short. Power was restored about 30 minutes later. There were also two isolated outages at businesses during a heavy rainstorm in mid-October due to power supply cables coming loose, prompting warnings from the city.