Korking good time: 2.9 million kroner in annual city grants recommended for 43 recreational and cultural projects


In: A big trampoline, repairs to landslide-damaged dog kennels, guided fishing trips for kids, an overnight snowmobile trip for high school students to Barentsburg. Out: Russian-language classes, a floating dock for small boats and “the ultimate snowmobile film from Svalbard.”

A long list of ongoing recreational programs, music festivals and other cultural activities – along with the usual collection of one-time and first-time newcomers – are among the 43 projects slated to received 2.9 million kroner in funding, if recommendations made Tuesday are approved by Longyearbyen’s Community Council later this month.

A total of 50 projects sought funds, two more than last year. Funds sought totaled 6,807,29 kroner, slightly less than last year.

As usual, the largest single grant this year went to Svalbard Turn, which “has  880 members and is responsible for most of organized fitness and sports facilities for population in Longyearbyen,” according to the recommendations issued by the city manager’s office. The organization received 700,000 kroner of the 1.28 million kroner it sought for programs, facilities and equipment. An additional 20,000 kroner was approved for a trampoline inside Svalbardhallen, with the goal of getting more youths involved in the organization and “compensating for the fact that there are almost no private trampolines in Longyearbyen.”

Camp Svalbard was also among the biggest recipients, receiving 140,000 kroner of the 200,000 kroner it sought for its annual youth summer camp, and 40,000 kroner of the 50,000 kroner it sought for a wind camp film project.

Numerous other youth projects are being recommended for funding, including 75,000 for Sirkus Svalnardo, and 25,000 kroner each for guided fishing trips, a football school and an overnight snowmobile trip for 10th graders to Barentsburg.

Most grant recipients received less than their requested amounts – sometimes significantly so, even if they are among the city’s most popular cultural attractions.

Dark Season Blues, for example, requested 425,000 kroner, the bulk of which would be used to upgrade and purchase new equipment for the city’s biggest annual music festival. Instead, the city is recommending a grant of 125,000 kroner to continue the festival with its current equipment, noting that purchasing new equipment would come at the cost of other cultural programs worthy of grants.

Similarly, the Longyearbyen Red Cross sought 337,195 kroner for training and equipment, and is slated to receive 100,000 kroner. Polarjazz sought 200,000 kroner to host its 20th annual festival, with a grant of 125,000 kroner recommended instead. The Longyearbyen Hundeklubb sought 200,000 kroner to rebuild kennels damaged by landslides last November, with the city manager recommending 80,000 kroner for the project.

(Full disclosure: Icepeople, which has received Korkpenger grants for the past six years, requested 135,000 kroner in 2017 for printing and other expenses and will receive 70,000 kroner if the council approves the recommended amounts.)

Among the projects that were rejected was 301,595 requested by Sons of Svalbard, which is “seeking again to create the ultimate snowmobile film from Svalbard.”

“The city manager believes that the realization of such a film could be positive for Svalbard residents here, but that the financing of such a project falls somewhat outside Korkpenger purposes,” the report notes.

A 304,000-kroner request for a small-boat floating dock and a 52,750-kroner request for Russian-language courses were rejected for similar reasons.

Korkpenger funds come from a portion of the taxes paid on retail alcohol sales in Longyearbyen.