HBL: The City won’t budge, wants housing on the airport

Seppo SipiläNews archive, Other media

The City’s mind is made up: wants housing on the airport

Hufvudstadsbladet 18 September 2018
Tommy Pohjola
translated by Seppo Sipilä

The battle for Malmi Airport is taking place in the Supreme Administrative Court. In case the verdict is not to the City’s liking, a new process will just be initiated, as the City has made up its mind: aviation will have to go.

That is the message of Mr. Tuomas Hakala, a civil servant of City of Helsinki. The airport area is his responsibility. Hakala spoke on Tuesday morning in a residents’ meeting in the old airport building. At the moment a process is ongoing in the Supreme Administrative Court about the new General Plan, which also concerns the airport area.

In the City’s plans, up to 25.000 people will in the future live here, where there are now buildings and runways designated as a cultural environment, and a wide green area. Hobby aviation and most of the enterprises will then have to move somewhere else.

According to the support association Friends of Malmi Airport, aviation will yet continue for a long time.

The exact date of the Supreme Administrative Court’s verdict is not known. The proceedings began last spring. Helsinki is putting on pressure, so the Court’s decision may come next year. The plaintiffs have found several shortcomings in the plan processes and drawings. The growing city’s opinion is that the area is needed for housing.

If the Supreme Administrative Court rules against the City, this is what will happen:

– The political decision is there. In that case we’ll start a new process, says Tuomas Hakala.

Whatever the verdict of the Supreme Administrative Court is, it will not deal with whether it’s acceptable to build blocks of apartments in the airport area or not. If the City loses the case, the part of the General Plan that concerns Malmi Airport will need to be redrawn. This is confirmed also by the Chairman of the support association, Mr. Timo Hyvönen.

Malmi Airport is not withering away, as is evident also while the City’s civil servant is talking. Private aircraft are landing, taking off and fuelling on the apron in front of the scenic windows. A helicopter is also shuttling crew to and from the pipeline-laying ship in the Gulf of Finland.

An important agreement between the City and the aviators of Malmi is under renegotiation. The present agreement concerning the use of the runways remains valid until the end of next year.