An appeal to Vapaavuori to postpone the eviction of Malmi Airport

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On behalf of the entrepreneurs at Malmi Airport, Juha Christensen has sent an appeal to the Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori.

APPEAL ON BEHALF OF THE ENTREPRENEURS OF MALMI AIRPORT TO POSTPONE THE EVICTION DATE

Dear Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori,

On 22 January 2021, Malmi Airfield Association has submitted the attached detailed application to the City of Helsinki and the Enforcement Authority to postpone the date of eviction of companies and organizations operating at Malmi Airport, based on easily verifiable facts, including winter weather, flight safety and problems of relocation.

All the grounds given in the application for postponing the date of eviction remain unchanged, and in addition the COVID situation has recently deteriorated considerably. The Government, in co-operation with the President of the Republic, has stated that Finland is in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus situation, and at its plenary session on 1 March 2021, the Council of State decided that a state of emergency referred to in section 3 (5) of the Emergency Preparedness Act is in effect in Finland.

Despite the above, in its decision of 29 January 2021, the Enforcement Authority has postponed the date of removal only until 14 March 2021, based on the factors which the applicant, City of Helsinki, claims to have caused significant harm.

“The City of Helsinki considers itself to be significantly harmed because the entire main natural gas pipeline relocation contract may be delayed, nature studies necessary for town planning (e.g. plant study, bird study, insect study) cannot be carried out in the disputed land lease area, the City is not free to choose the best location in the area for intermediate storage of soil and rock if the area is not brought under the city’s control, the planned soil surveys are delayed and the schedule is jeopardized, the construction of temporary routes planned for the area cannot be started and, in principle, the whole preconstruction is delayed.”

According to the Malmi Airfield Association and the entrepreneurs and operators in the area, however, all the issues mentioned above by the City have already been taken into account and can be coordinated so that postponing the date of relocation does not cause any significant harm to the City.

In my opinion, the City of Helsinki is pushing entrepreneurs and other operators at Malmi Airport to an unreasonable position in a situation where the whole country is in a state of emergency and in order to emerge from the corona pandemic, we need entrepreneurship in Finland more than ever before. I therefore urge you to take responsibility for this Malmi case and, as the chief officer of the City of Helsinki, to notify the Enforcement Authority that Helsinki accepts postponing the relocation date related to the eviction decision to a later date requested by the Malmi Airfield Association. In fact, a reference to this already exists in the Enforcement Authority’s decision of 29 January 2021.

“Article 4 of Regulation L 726/2020, adopted in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, is, however, in force until 30 April 2021 in its temporarily amended form, according to which the date of relocation may be postponed, provided that it does not cause significant harm to the applicant. The eviction must, however, be carried out within four months of the initiation of the process, unless due to the COVID-19 epidemic or the resulting state of emergency or some other particularly compelling circumstance there is a justified reason for postponing it further.”

You have served with merit as Minister of Economic Affairs 2012-2015, and you have a good understanding of the challenges of business and the long-term nature of business operations. I have myself worked, among other things, as an entrepreneur for more than 30 years and I genuinely care about how best to support the entrepreneurial spirit and motivation in Helsinki.

In the light of the above, I urge the City of Helsinki to take into account the particularly difficult situation of Malmi’s entrepreneurs and other operators, and to be prepared in the name of common interest to be flexible with the currently unreasonable timetable, and to inform the Enforcement Authority that the City agrees to a postponement of the eviction date.

If you need more information, I will be happy to provide it, or if you want to meet the entrepreneurs and operators of Malmi Airport in person, they are definitely ready for it.