Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Sept. 29, 2015


Poll: Labor dominates, nearly half of voters undecided
The Labor Party is poised to claim a substantial majority of the seats in the Longyearbyen Community Council election Sunday and Monday, according to a telephone survey conducted by Norfakta for Svalbardposten. The survey of 112 eligible voters at the end of September found 56.5 percent of those expressing a preference favor the Labor Party, 21 percent the Conservative Party, 12.9 percent the Green Party and 9.7 percent the Liberal Party. But nearly half of the respondents said they were still undecided. The survey has an error margin of plus or minus 8.7 percent.   If poll’s percentages remain the same in the election the Labor Party will get nine of the 15 council seats (up from the current total of seven), the Conservative Party will continue to fill three seats, the Green Party will get two seats and the Liberal Party one seat. The two latter parties are on the municipal election ballot for the first time, replacing the Non-Partisan Party which held three seats and the Konsekvenslista which held two.

Four small boats saved after wind blows them out to sea  
A strong wind storm Tuesday blew four small boats out to sea, which were retrieved by officials from the governor’s office with assistance from others in Longyearbyen. “There are high seas and some wind, so people need to check the tethers on their boats,” said Sidsel Svarstad, a police chief lieutenant for the governor. “If anyone is missing their boat they can contact us.” Two of the boats were dragged shore at the small boat harbor, one was placed along the road to the airport and the other transferred to the dock for inflatable boats at Bykaia.

Reindeer freed from cables
A reindeer caught in mining-related cables on Fuglefjella was cut loose Monday by environmental officials from the governor’s office. “We had to saw off a little of the antlers and cut the cable,” said Bjarte Benberg, a nature and species management advisor. A hiker told officials about the animal on Saturday, but weather kept the rescuers away until Monday.