Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of June 21, 2016

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Kulturhuset renovation cost doubles; gets OK anyhow
A planned renovation of Kulturhuset that would make it the main entrance to Longyearbyen’s main government offices and the new home of the library will cost twice its originally projected cost, according to city leaders debating the issue at a meeting last week. The project approved by the Longyearbyen Community Council last November earmarked 16 million kroner for the project, but bids received by the city have resulted in a projected price of 32 million kroner. Longyearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen said he is concerned about how much debt the city is taking on, especially since other large-scale projects including a new sports hall and town square are planned, but he and a majority of the council’s Administration Committee voted to approved the higher-cost project. The full council will consider the matter Tuesday night.

‘Champaign glass’ contest starts even if you can’t see it
So much snow fell on Operafjellet during the winter and spring that the famous “champaign glass” has failed to emerge in the bowl at the top of the mountain, but entries for this year’s contest about when the “stem” will break are still due by July 1. The date will likely be later than last’s year’s “break” on July 16, July 14 in 2014 and July 18 in 2013. An example of an outliner year was 2012, when the stem broke on Aug. 31. The first person to submit the correct date for this year’s breakage will win a bottle of champaign. Entires should be sent to  christopher@svalbardposten.no..

Temporary cooking shelters get new look from governor
The Governor of Svalbard is evaluating if temporary cooking shelters previously denied to tour operators can be used in the future, in accordance with goals specified in the Norwegian government’s recently revised “white paper” for the archipelago. Two tour operators applied for permission to deploy the shelters, but the impacts of them were questioned.