Longyearbyen Kindergarten to remain closed permanetly
Longyearbyen Kindergarten, which faced an uncertain future after being closed last year, will now be shut down permanently because the city no longer has enough children to support more than two kindergartens. The city’s Youth and Cultural Committee voted for the closure of the kindergarten next to Svalbard Church earlier this month, which will result in full enrollments at Polarflokken and Kullungen kindergartens. Unn Martinsen, head of the city’s youth services department, said it does not appear the decision will require layoffs. “Experience shows that some are moving and leaving,” she said. “So we have constantly held onto some because we see that we may need some in a few months’ time.” How the closed kindergarten will be used in the future, and whether one or both remaining kindergartens might be expanded if the youth population rises again remain uncertain.
Tourism officials hoping cruisers spend 1,000 kroner apiece
Longyearbyen tourism officials are hoping each cruise ship tourist spends an average of at least 1,000 kroner when the season begins June 1. Among the other goals this year are for each ship to spend at least 10 hours in port and two days in Isfjorden, an area of increasing emphasis due to restrictions on ships using heavy oil that as of last year are preventing access to many previously popular areas. The first ship will be the AIDAluna, with capacity for 2,100 passengers, scheduled to arrive at 7:30 a.m. Thirty-four foreign cruise ships are expected to bring about 45,000 passengers to Svalbard this summer. The largest ship will be the MSC Splendida, which has room for 3,900 passengers.
Three rescued in separate incidents during weekend
Three tourists were rescued by helicopter during the past weekend, including an injured snowmobiler at Bretjørna and an ill skier at Bolterdalen on Friday night, and a man injured during a guided tour Sunday at Isfjord Radio, according to The Governor of Svalbard.