Three people sitting at a safe distance from each other.
Pekka Räty and Jouko Partanen participated in the discussion in the press room of the main library. Also in the photo is Ulla-Maija Järnstedt.

Conversation in Karelia, at home with a good mood

24.3.2021 19:44
At the municipal election arena on 16.3. vitality factors were discussed.

On Tuesday of last week, the first panel discussion of the Kuntavaaliarena organized by the Imatra city library took place, the theme of which was vitality factors. The questions asked to the panelists came from seniors from Imatra. There were representatives from Imatra's current council parties: Marja Estola (green), Timo Harkönen (ps.), Niina Malm (sd.), Juuso Mustonen (iron.), Jouko Partanen (collect.) as well as Pekka Räty (middle). The event was hosted by an actor Ulla-Maija Järnstedt, and the opening speech was given by the service manager of the culture and learning center Sarianna Purtilo.

Discussion about Vuoksi's canal project

The panelists were asked about the city's economy and ways to support entrepreneurship and create jobs. They considered the changing age structure and Imatra's position as a migration loss municipality to be challenging, among other things. Good, functioning services were seen as primarily important in all parties. The Green Party's Marja Estola said the city needs young people who can be attracted if they can be offered education. Basic Finns' Timo Härkönen and the Left Alliance's Juuso Mustonen agreed that there is a need to attract students and companies and that opportunities for success and operations must be created for companies. Pekka Räty of the center envisions that wooden construction could be a really tough thing for Imatra.

The question of Vuoksi's canal project sparked the discussion in particular. The technical implementation of the project was considered challenging and expensive in euro terms. In Mustonen's opinion, it would be better to invest in the development of the harbor instead. This was also supported by Niina Malm, who did not directly reject the canal project, but stated that it is not the first on SDP's priority list. Although the location of the harbor is inconvenient compared to the center of Imatra, it is only a matter of logistics, and bus transfers are possible. In the opinion of Jouko Partanen of the Coalition, the situation of the Vuoksi channel - including official statements from Stora Enso and Fortum, as well as the financing possibilities and profitability of the project - should now be thoroughly investigated.

Also the next opportunity remotely

Due to the corona restrictions, the discussion was held remotely, which could be followed live on the YouTube channel of the city of Imatra. The spirit of the discussion remained good, although the technical challenges and varying sound quality caused their own annoyances for both the panelists and the viewers. The problems will be corrected in future events. The recording can be viewed until the election, and it will be subtitled in Finnish.

The next panel discussion will take place on April 7 at 15 p.m., and its theme will be services. Panelists from all parties that have nominated candidates for the municipal elections in Imatra 2021 are invited to the event. Municipal residents over 64 are welcome to ask the panelists their own questions until March 31 using the online form at www.imatra.fi/kuntavaaliareena or in paper form in all Imatra libraries.

The municipal arena trial project is implemented by the Imatra city library and financed by Finland's independence celebration fund Sitra. The project's target group is the elderly. The experiment is part of Sitra's Libraries for People's Power Forum project, which aims to improve citizens' opportunities for participation and influence in social decision-making.