erosioncabin

Disintigrating dreams: Two cabins at Bjørndalen in danger after erosion during a single storm; road also at risk

Read Time:2 Minute, 19 Second

Plenty of homes in Longyearbyen are suffering everything from cracking to the threat of being wiped out by landslides due to climate- and weather-related events. But three cabins on the outskirts of town and the road leading to them may be an indicator of how quickly destruction can occur in extreme conditions.

A single rainstorm this fall eroded the coastline leading to the two of the cabins so quickly they’re in danger of collapsing into the sea if one more major storm occurs, according to assessments by The Governor of Svalbard and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). It appears the cabin will be safe until next year due to the ground solidifying with onset of winter, but the sudden threat is worrisome.

“It is not unusual to have erosion along the shoreline,” Knut A. Hoseth, chief engineer for NVE’s northern regional office, told NRK last week. “But of this scope during a single event, based on what we know, that is unusual.”

The inspectors also concluded one of the cabins at Bjørndalen is uninhabitable until further notice. But access could be restricted to far more people if the erosion damages the road leading out to the area.

“The way out to Bjørndalen is also threatened,” the governor’s assessment states. “One of the most exposed areas is between the campground and Vestpynten, where it was observed that there had been considerable erosion. At its narrowest, it was a road shoulder down to one meter between the sea and the road.”

The NVE, after its assessment, decided there are not yet grounds for a ban on traffic, but is recommending the Longyearbyen Community Council issue an advisory limiting traffic in the area. But Astrid Meek, the city’s senior planning advisor, told NRK the city is limited in its authority to cope with the situation.

“The road is used often used and is fairly central to the city” said Astrid Meek, the city’s senior planning advisor, in an interview with NRK. “We are quite concerned and the road might give out at the next occurrence of mild weather. But the road is state-owned and not under the local government’s responsibility.”

The area is one of several residential and cultural heritage locations where erosion and other weather-related damage has recently emerged as an existential threat, with climate change blamed for at least some of the problem.

Recent incidents include the ground under the aging Gruvebadet building in Ny-Alesund sank up to a meter in places during this fall’s storms, forcing officials to make emergency foundation upgrades and repairs to save the building. Also, coastal erosion at Bjørnøya resulted in the first-ever excavation of cultural heritage sites, since relics and fossils are in danger of being consumed by the sea.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
newobservereditor Previous post Back with a vengence: Barents Observer revived as independent paper, editor says Russia’s gripes killed old version
visamachine Next post Talk to the hand: New visa rules means applicants need to give the governor the finger, along with a photograph