30 March 2016: Helsinki City Council dismissed the municipal popular initiative to keep Malmi Airport in aviation use

Seppo SipiläNews archive

In its meeting on 30 March 2016, Helsinki City Council dealt with Finland’s biggest-to-date municipal popular initiative suggesting that Malmi Airport be kept in aviation use. The resolution, drafted by civil servants and the City Board, did not comment on any of the arguments made in the initiative but brushed them off with standard phrases. The recent recognitions by Europa Nostra (official Unesco partner) and the Parliament’s Traffic Committee were ignored. The initiative received a very superficial treatment overall, and its relevance as a mechanism of municipal democracy seems to be negligible. The Council also neglected the fact that in the long term, preserving the airport architecture as a whole is an essential part of the National Board of Antiquities’ idea to apply for Unesco World Heritage status to the sites of functionalist architecture built in Helsinki region for the Olympic Games of 1940.

During the discussion it became evident that the councillors who had familiarized themselves with the matter were strongly in favor of keeping the airport. Strange counterclaims were made during the discussion, e.g. that officials would ban residential building if aviation activities were to continue, and that there were no international flights at Malmi in the year 2015. (There have been hundreds of such flights from/to the EU, Russia and elsewhere.)

The discussion and voting behavior of the councillors gave the impression that the Left Alliance, the Green League and the Social Democrats are unfamiliar with the facts and have made group decisions that are not to be questioned. Members of these parties did not take the floor once (excluding Jarmo Nieminen of the Green League). In private conversations, numerous councillors have expressed their personal support for Malmi Airport, but have been forced to vote with their group. Risto Rautava of the National Coalition also criticized the debate linked to these pages from the cultural magazine Kanava, touching upon cultural vandalism and the acts of ISIS. The article in question refers to the acts of cultural vandalism by ISIS and points out that valuable cultural heritage is being destroyed in Helsinki too.

As a positive detail, councillor Kaarin Taipale confirmed that Built Cultural Environments of National Significance (RKY) are to be protected. As all of Malmi Airport’s area is listed as such an environment (RKY2009), this would mean that it will remain an open space in northeastern Helsinki far into the future. The activities cannot be protected, but it is difficult to invent other uses for the airport area.

Björn Månsson (Swedish People’s Party) filed a motion to return the matter to be properly prepared. Unfortunately the voting result was a 29-55 defeat. The voting decisions of the councillors are given below. Mika Ebeling (Christian Democrats) filed a motion to hold an advisory referendum on the future of Malmi Airport, but the voting result was similar.

YEA – INITIATIVE LEADS TO NO ACTION

Abdulla Zahra (Left)
Alanko-Kahiluoto Outi (Green)
Andersson Hennariikka (Coalition)
Anttila Maija (SDP)
Arajärvi Pentti (SDP)
Heinäluoma Eero (SDP)
Holopainen Mari (Green)
Honkasalo Veronika (Left)
Hursti René (RH)
Ingervo Sirkku (Left)
Jalovaara Ville (SDP)
Järvinen Jukka (SDP)
Karhuvaara Arja (Coalition)
Kari Emma (Green)
Kivekäs Otso (Green)
Koivulaakso Dan (Left)
Korkkula Vesa (Left)
Kousa Tuuli (Green)
Krohn Minerva (Green)
Lehtipuu Otto (Green)
Lindell Harri (Finns)
Lovén Jape (SDP)
Luukkainen Hannele (Coalition)
Malin Petra (Left)
Modig Silvia (Left)
Muttilainen Sami (Left)
Muurinen Seija (Coalition)
Mäki Terhi (SDP)
Männistö Lasse (Coalition)
Möller Antti (Green)
Niiranen Matti (Coalition)
Nyholm Henrik (Left)
Oskala Hannu (Green)
Paavolainen Sara (SDP)
Pajamäki Osku (SDP)
Pakarinen Pia (Coalition)
Perälä Erkki (Green)
Puhakka Sirpa (Left)
Puoskari Mari (Green)
Rantanen Tuomas (Green)
Rauhamäki Tatu (Coalition)
Rautava Risto (Coalition)
Razmyar Nasima (SDP)
Relander Jukka (Green)
Rydman Wille (Coalition)
Sevander Tomi (SDP)
Soininvaara Osmo (Green)
Stranius Leo (Green)
Sydänmaa Johanna (Green)
Taipale Kaarin (SDP)
Torsti Pilvi (SDP)
Vesikansa Sanna (Green)
Vuorjoki Anna (Left)
Wallgren Thomas (SDP)
Ylikahri Ville (Green)

NAY – CITY’S RESPONSE MUST BE RETURNED TO PROPER PREPARATION

Asko-Seljavaara Sirpa (Coalition)
Bogomoloff Harry (Coalition)
Brettschneider Gunvor (Swedish)
Ebeling Mika (Christian Democrats)
Finne-Elonen Laura (Swedish party)
Hakanen Yrjö (Communist Party)
Hakola Juha (Coalition)
Huru Nina (Finns)
Hyttinen Nuutti (Finns)
Kantola Helena (Finns)
Kolbe Laura (Center)
Koskinen Kauko (Coalition)
Koulumies Terhi (Coalition)
Laaksonen Heimo (Coalition)
Laaninen Timo (Center)
Majuri Pekka (Coalition)
Månsson Björn (Swedish Party)
Nieminen Jarmo (Green)
Oker-Blom Jan D (Swedish Party)
Packalén Tom (Finns)
Pelkonen Jaana (Coalition)
Peltokorpi Terhi (Center)
Raatikainen Mika (Finns)
Raittinen Timo (Coalition)
Rantala Marcus (Swedish Party)
Rantanen Mari (Finns)
Urho Ulla-Marja (Coalition)
Villo Pertti (Finns)
Vuorinen Tuulikki (Christian Democrats)

EMPTY VOTE

Pasterstein Dennis (Coalition)