Today, we look at Borgarbyggð, West Iceland, where a possible new wind farm is top of many voters’ agenda; alongside improving sports facilities and schools.
Borgarbyggð in its current form was created in 2006, when Borgarfjarðarsveit, Hvítársíðuhreppur, and Kolbeinsstaðahreppur were merged into the existing Borgarbyggð. The municipality’s population is 3,868 people—up by 123 in four years. It is a large, rural municipality that has several settlements. Borgarnes is the biggest. Four party lists are standing for election this week.
Sports facilities outdated
Borgarnes has been waiting many years for a new sports hall. During the current council term, the sports hall was put into the municipal financial plan. Financed or not, the construction project has yet to begin. And the outdoor football facilities of the Skallgrímur sports club are also in desperate need of renovation.
“We have a really beautiful football football pitch here for the summertime, but football has become a year-round sport. People play and compete all winter, and then we have no facilities. Neither for practice nor matches,” says Oddný Eva Böðvarsdóttir, chair of the football wing of Skallgrímur.
Þverárhlíð and Norðurárdalur, meanwhile, are voting as much on the wind farm idea as any other issue.
As with elsewhere in Iceland, planning is close to the top of the agenda in Borgarbyggð--not only because of the proposed new wind farm in the municipality, but especially also in Borgarnes, where there is a significant shortage of residential housing.
Two different wind farms are in the planning stage for Norðurárdalur and the council now finishing its four-year term has put the decision on ice while the municipal planning policy is being re-evaluated.
Jóhann Harðarsson, who offers farm stay accommodation, says residents of Norðarárdalur and Þverárhlíð will to a large extent vote on each party’s position on the wind debate.
On the education front, Borgarbyggð has primary schools in Borgarnes, Hvanneyri, Kleppjárnsreykir, and Varmaland. The future of the schools has been under discussion in recent years, and Jóhan says he believes local residents support keeping all four schools open.
"There are kids in this area who spend half an hour on the schoolbus, which is an hour a day. It really makes a difference if that goes up by a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes, each way.”
For more information on the local elections this May, see the Multicultural Information Centre’s dedicated election page, here. Information from the government is here. And you can find out whether, and where, you can vote by entering your kennitala here. RÚV English will compile all Election 2022 news on this page.