Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Nov. 18, 2018


Norway’s justice minister says the “government is working on a solution” for private homeowners in avalanche-prone areas, 72 applicants seek 39.1 million kroner  from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund and seven Russians help Store Norske workers clean up debris at the aging Mine 2B.

Minister: Seeking solution for those with homes in avalanche areas
The government is “working on a solution” for private individuals who have lost homes located in avalanche-prone areas, Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security Tor Mikkel Wara said during a visit to Longyearbyen last week. “I have received a briefing from the local leaders and others about the situation in Longyearbyen, and I will consider that along with the further work on the government’s proposal for a state budget, which will be published on Oct. 8,” he said. A total of 250 homes and dorms are targeted for demolition, but because Svalbard is exempt from Norway’s natural disaster compensation policy private homeowners in affected areas are at present not receiving any payment or assistance.

72 applicants seek 39.1 million kroner in environmental grants
Five million kroner for signage and other tourism-oriented infrastructure, nearly three million kroner for solar cells at Svalbardbutikken, and about three million kroner for three trash cleanup projects are among the largest requests from 72 applicants seeking a total of 39.1 million kroner from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund. The fund, which awarded grants twice annually, has a 25 million kroner available for 2018. A total of 15.6 million kroner was awarded this spring, leaving 9.4 million for the fall applicants who has to submit requests by Sept. 15. The fund’s board is scheduled to announce the grant winners Nov. 22.

Russians help Store Norske clean up Mine 2B
Seven Russians assisted Store Norske employees recently with a cleanup at the deteriorating Mine 2B, which the company is hoping to restore to a safe location that can be used as a historical attraction. “They did a great job with the staff from Store Norske. Through both the securing and clearing of Mine 2B, the goal is to make the work building available to the public in the long term, no sooner next fall, “said Sveinung Lystrup Thesen, the company’s property manager. The Russians have been participating in cleanup projects since February to earn money to join thousands of their fellow countrymen at the annual Landstreff festival near Stavanger. “It was awesome and a lot of fun to be allowed to help Store Norske with cleanup around Mine 2B, considering all the history that lies there and how much the company has done for our city, said Russ Sara Mjelde, one of the Russian workers.