Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Dec. 19, 2017


Brothers to sue after losing homes at Gamle Syhehuset

Avaz and Sam Ziaei said they are planning to sue the man who sold them three apartments at Gamle Skyehuset, accusing him of failing to disclose problems with the building that resulted in it being condemed in February of 2016. About 30 residents were forced to abandon 16 apartments due to severe structural damage and the building is now considered worthless. Sparebank 1, which financed loans for those who owned apartments, and the owners’ insurance company stated in February of this year they will not compensate the owners. “We have had two years of hell,” Sam Ziaei said. “We are sitting with millions of kroner of debt to the bank and paying rent as well. That despite the fact that we paid all the insurance on the building, municipal fees and the entire package.” Te brothers are now filing a lawsuit against Roy Albrigtsen, who sold them three apartments for three million kroner in 2009, noting he told Svalbardposten three years earlier he knew the building was structurally unsound but converted it to apartments nonetheless years earlier. An attorney for the brothers states “the counterparty (Albrigtsen) denies liability. They indicate that the claim is too late and that the case is out of date.” Gamle Sykehuset was built in 1954. In 1996, Roy Albrigtsen, Geir Arne Olsen and Arve Are purchased from Store Norske. They renovated the building and turned it into apartment buildings.Another key issue in the dispute is a ground cooling system under the building that ma have been removed at some point before those who currently own flats purchased them, and what former owners know about its removal.

Road between cemetery and Huset will be permanently closed

Although it was opened briefly for emergency purposes during this week’s storm, Vei 300 between Longyearbyen Cemetery and Huset will be closed to vehicle traffic indefinitely, according to city officials. The road has been closed for several months due to landslide and other threats, but that isn’t being cited as the primary cause for the continued closure. “We have received a lot of positive feedback that it is closed for car traffic,” said Kjersti Olsen Ingerø, the city’s chief technical engineer. “If there had been a great need to use the road for car traffic we would have done it. But it’s not the most used road in the city and many people are very pleased that the road is closed.” During the months when snow is on the ground the road along the eastern mountains is used as part of a popular ski trail coming down out of the mountains.