Residential meeting about a controversial new building area in Skerjafjörður
Over one hundred residents of Skerjafjörður attended the meeting last night. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon
Opinions vary on the new residential area in Skerjafjörður. Residents are concerned that the project will cause great disturbance, high pollution, flight safety and affect the biosphere on the fjord’s shore. At the same time, they criticize the city authorities for not discussing the matter with the residents of the area.
Over one hundred residents of Skerjafjörður gathered at a community meeting in Askja last night to discuss plans for a new residential area to be built in the east of Skerjafjörður.
The meeting was titled Save Skerjafjörður, and was called because of this new project under a new subdivision that will make the population of Skerjafjörður six times what it is today, with up to five story apartment buildings. Residents were encouraged to attend the meeting with the aim of safeguarding their local environment, road safety, public health, nature protection and aviation safety.
Reykjavík Airport. Marta Guðjónsdóttir, representative of the Independence Party on the city council criticizes the ruling majority of the city for not taking into account a new report about the city airport and how the new planned residential area in Skerjafjörður would affect the airport. mbl.is/Árni Sæberg
Worry about traffic congestion
The approved city plan for the new area includes 1,400 new apartments in Skerjafjörður, and thus 3,500 inhabitants in addition to the 700 inhabitants already there.
There is one road that leads to and from Skerjafjörður and there are no plans to develop the main road network west of Snorrabraut, according to transport engineer Þórarinn Hjaltason, one of the speakers at the meeting who took issue with traffic and street planning.
Not been invited to comment
At the meeting, city officials were criticized for ignoring all reports, expert research, and to demonstrate careless administrative procedures. In addition, residents say they were not allowed to comment on the fact that the residential area in their backyard will rise while a better alternative for the airport has not been identified.
One meeting has been held with the residents, where they were not given the opportunity to ask questions until they demanded to be heard. Then they were allowed to ask three questions, but no more.
Eggert Hjartarson, chairman of the residents association of Skerjafjörður. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnusson
Satisfied with the attendance
When a reporter from mbl.is spoke to Eggert Hjartason, chairman of the Society of Skjöldur, the residents’ association of Skerjafjörður, after the meeting, he said he was very pleased with the attendance, but at the meeting many more people showed up than he expected.
“This meeting went well in my opinion. People brought along some very good points, it was good information about the airport and the traffic, so I think we in the neighborhood should be able to process a lot of this stuff that we got here tonight and that it will be a real boost to us in our fight to have this new area put up.”
At the end of the meeting, Skjöldur, the residents’ Association of Skerjafjörður submitted a resolution that can be read below.
“The proposed settlement in the new area of Skerjafjörður is expected to have 1,400 dwellings with a population of around 3,600. This will increase the population of the Skerfjörður six times the size of the current population. There is only one roadway to enter and leave the neighborhood and no other road planned. The traffic volume of on Suðurgata and Einarsnes can also be expected to increase sixfold, from 2,800 vehicles per day to 16,800. City authorities denied Skerfjörður’s residents a proper introduction to the project and refused any consultation with them. That is unacceptable and an undemocratic practice.
Suðurgata, Njarðargata and Hringbraut, no longer handle normal traffic flow during peak hours. More and more congested buildings in the downtown area and the western part of the city, constantly increase the traffic volume west of Snorrabraut, resulting people to drive through residential areas. When all these buildings are fully constructed, a new Landspítali at Hringbraut will be fully operating with all the staff of the current Landspítali in Fossvogur and the New Skerjafjörður area fully built, the street system will no longer work west of Snorrabraut. There is no evidence of the response of the city authorities to this traffic jam which is now approaching an emergency.
The airport will be located in Vatnsmýri for at least the next 20 years. The newly-released expert report on airport’s air and operational security, provides a clear and unambiguous conclusion that the construction of the newly built New Skerjafjordur area will further threaten the airport’s security. That is an unequivocal violation of the agreement between the state and the city on the airport, from 2019. We would like, in this context, to reaffirm strictly that the airport's air safety is also a matter of the safety of the residential areas adjacent to the airport.
The construction land of New Skerjafjörður is heavily contaminated soil. We object to the plan to drive 13,000 truckloads of such material through Skerjafjörður, Njarðargata, Hringbraut and Miklabraut. We also object to the option of shoveling this soil up a high hill on the construction site, just a few dozen meters from the current residential area, and having it weathered there, as it is not at all certain how damaging it will be to the health of the residents of Skerjafjörður.
The layout of the new Skerjafjörður assumes significant landfill in the low-lying nature reserve due to high biodiversity and is one of the few natural beaches left in Reykjavík. The coastline of the geographical Seltjarnarnes area, from Grótta to Elliðaá, is almost entirely man-made. The shore from the south of Seltjarnarnes golf course to Fossvogur, is almost entirely untouched. It is not only a sanctuary for the inhabitants of the neighbourhood but for all citizens. Entry to this coastline would be a strategic assault to the protection of nature and the environment in the capital area. The Natural Resources Agency, the Environment Agency, the National Planning Agency, the Marine Research Institute and various conservation organizations have objected to these plans. We will fight against this environmental damage.
For all these reasons, we strongly object to the undemocratic plans for the construction of New Skerjafjörður, which is obviously directed against easy and safe traffic west of Snorrabraut, public health, aviation safety and nature conservation.”