Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Dec. 8, 2020


Relocated cemetery targeted for completion in 2022

The relocation of Longyearbyen’s cemetery, due to avalanche and landslide exposure in the current location, is proposed for completion in 2022 at a cost of three million kroner. The funding proposed for project by Norway’s Ministry of Justice and Emergency Preparedness will allow an estimated 600-square-meter cemetery to be placed on a plot to be determined about 100 meters north of Svalbard Church, which oversees the cemetery. The cemetery placed a hold on new graves (for cremation, since bodies have been prohibited there for many decades) due to the increased risk of avalanches and landslides in recent years, including a large one in October of 2016 next to it during an autumn of record rainfall. Approval of the proposal is scheduled for June of 2021.

Tourism up slightly this week, but significant drop expected just before Christmas

An average of 80 guests are expected daily at the hotels and other visitor accommodations for the week of Dec. 8-14, slightly better than the 72 daily guests the previous week, according to Visit Svalbard. The number of guests booked for organized activities during the current week is 20 per day, compared to 13 last week. A decline is forecast for the period just before Christmas, with 51 guests per day expected between Dec. 15-21.

Road to Mine 7 may be closed during winter weekends

The road to Mine 7 may be closed weekends during the snowy winter and spring months beginning in January due to road not being plowed then and a “very deficient” crash barrier, according to city officials. The city’s Technical Committee is scheduled to discuss the closure in January following an assessment of the road by the Traffic Safety Committee.  “Dangerous situations can arise if someone is travelling upwards on dangerous ground,” notes a report by the traffic committee, with no members expression objection to the closure.