Árborg Announces Overhaul of Aging Stokkseyri Pool

The public pool in Stokkseyri is in need of repairs

The swimming pool in Stokkseyri, a small town in South Iceland, is in poor condition, requiring extensive repairs to the pool’s basin. According to the Árborg municipality’s website, it is necessary to replace all sides of the pool, as well as the bottom and liner,

Clear that extensive repairs are needed

This summer, as part of the municipality’s austerity measures, Árborg decided to keep the Stokkseyri swimming pool closed this winter, from November until March of next year. In a news update on its website yesterday, Árborg revealed that the pool basin, after 31 years of use, was in a state of disrepair. The municipality also published images depicting the pool’s condition.

Read More: Pooling Together (Iceland’s Unique Swimming Pool Culture)

“It’s clear that more extensive repairs are needed for the Stokkseyri swimming pool’s basin, as all sides of the pool along with the bottom and liner need replacement. Additionally, the hot tubs will be painted, and maintenance of other aspects of the pool’s grounds and building will be considered. Work has begun, but due to the extent of the damage, it’s uncertain when the repairs will be completed,” the municipality’s website notes.

The Stokkseyri swimming pool complex includes an eighteen-metre outdoor pool, a wading pool, and two hot tubs.

The public pool in Stokkseyri
Árborg

Residential Survey on Downtown Selfoss

Selfoss - Suðurland - Ölfusá

Last week, the Árborg Municipal Council approved a public consultation regarding a proposed change to the zoning plan in downtown Selfoss and an agreement between the municipality and Sigtún Development Company.

As part of an initiative to revitalise Selfoss, the largest town in South Iceland, planners have in recent years begun work on a walkable, historic downtown area. New shops and a food hall have already popped up, in addition to recent investments into other community infrastructure.

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The proposed change involves reducing the size of Sigtúnsgarður Park by 2,800 square metres while increasing the total public space downtown by 1,400 square metres.

The survey began last Thursday and will conclude on Thursday, May 25th at 6:00 p.m. Residents of Árborg, aged sixteen and older, can participate in the survey.

An informational meeting was also held yesterday, May 22, where representatives from both Árborg Municipality and Sigtún Development Company fielded questions regarding the proposed changes to zoning.

 

With Growing Debts, Árborg Municipality Nears Bankruptcy

Selfoss - Suðurland - Ölfusá

The municipality of Árborg in South Iceland is facing financial difficulties due to inflation and a decline in real estate revenues.

Following an assessment of the municipality’s financial situation by international accounting firm KPMG, the municipal council has called a meeting with residents to discuss the town’s financial position, which is reportedly extremely challenging compared to other municipalities.

The town has taken out loans with increasing interest rates in recent years, and the council fears that they may be on the verge of bankruptcy, with a negative net worth of ISK 76,000 [$550, €509] per resident. In contrast, other comparable towns like Reykjanesbær, Mosfellsbær, Akureyri, and Akranes have positive net worth per resident.

See also: No Gender Pay Gap in Árborg

The town has been in financial trouble for a long time, with a negative net worth per resident of ISK 20,000 in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic cannot be entirely blamed for the financial situation, but the town invested heavily in infrastructure and construction in recent years, including new schools, sports facilities, and a kindergarten, which have contributed to the financial issues. The council is concerned that they may have to resort to layoffs and selling off assets to address their financial problems.

Mayor of Árborg Municipality, Fjóla Kristinsdóttir, stated to Vísir: “I expect there will be some streamlining. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. But of course, we are not going to pay off the municipality’s debts by just streamlining operations. There needs to be more done.”

Árborg’s debt is approximately ISK 28 billion [$205 million, €188 million], with increasing debt-to-income ratios. The council is currently discussing possible solutions, including raising taxes, reducing spending, or selling assets. However, the town’s mayor notes that many of the investments made in recent years have been necessary due to the town’s growing population, and it is challenging to balance the needs of the community with the financial constraints they now face.

Hot Water Shortage in Selfoss: Public Pool Closed Indefinitely

Selfoss - Suðurland - Ölfusá

A fire in an electrical box of the Selfossveitur utility company has led to a hot-water shortage in Selfoss. The Árborg municipality has encouraged residents to save water and the public swimming pool in Selfoss has been closed indefinitely.

Contingency plan activated

As noted in a press release from the Árborg municipality yesterday, an electrical box in one of the boreholes of the Selfossveitur utility company caught fire on the night before Thursday, December 8. The fire forced a reduction in energy production, leading to a shortage of hot water.  

Selfossveitur subsequently activated its contingency plan, with residents of the Árborg municipality being encouraged to use their hot water sparingly. The municipality’s website offers advice to residents on how best to save water, including ensuring that windows and front doors remain closed and making sure that radiators are not blocked by long curtains or furniture.

In light of the shortages, Sundhöll Selfoss, the public swimming pool in the town of Selfoss, has been indefinitely closed.

“Which is why we’ve decided to close the Selfoss public swimming pool indefinitely. We will let you know immediately when we have a more detailed timeline regarding when we’ll open again,” a press release from the Selfoss swimming pool on Facebook reads.

 

Árborg municipality
Fire in electrical junction box (Arborg.is)

No Gender Pay Gap in Árborg

pay gap iceland

For the first time in the municipality’s history, Árborg in South Iceland has reported no wage gap for the municipality’s thousand-some employees.

Fjóla Kristinsdóttir, mayor of Árborg, stated to Vísir that she was “extremely proud of this achievement.” She noted that it was particularly impressive given the large size of the municipality and their many employees, though she also stated “this is naturally what we have to do according to the law.”

On how the municipality achieved this milestone in social justice, Fjóla stated that “I’m not trying to own this accomplishment. It’s just our great staff who have been working hard on this.”

There are around 1,000 employees in Árborg municipality, with women now considerably more represented than men. Now, however, the basic wage for all is the same, something that was not always the case.

The news is significant in its timing as well, coming near the anniversary of Women’s Day Off. On October 24, 1975, women in Iceland staged a historic strike, now known as Women’s Day Off. With nearly 90% of Iceland’s women participating in the strike, they walked out of both jobs and domestic labour for the day. The following year, legislation ensuring equal pay was passed.