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In the municipal election arena on 7.4. services were discussed

13.4.2021 19:13
The panelists were municipal election candidates from seven different parties. The event was hosted by actress Ulla-Maija Järnstedt.

The second panel event of the Municipal Fair organized by the Imatra city library was held on Wednesday of last week. The theme of the event was services. The questions asked to the panelists came from seniors from Imatra. The questions were answered Ismo Harju (middle), Eija Hauska-Mertanen (cf.), Irma Hujanen (kok), Juuso Mustonen (iron.), Juha-Pekka Natunen (green), Markus Niskanen (sd.) and Ari Pöyhönen (p.s.)

Discussion of local services

The panelists were asked how to guarantee good local services to the local residents in the future as the age structure changes. Juha-Pekka Natunen would approach the matter from the point of view that the city and its organization must know what kind of services are needed and what kind of users the services are. The service structure should be changed in the direction of how it best serves the citizens of the municipality. Equality between the citizens of the municipality is important. Markus Niskanen was also of the opinion that the services must always meet the demand, and it is necessary to see often enough who uses and needs the services. You have to have a good, accurate cost structure and make sure that the costs don't run away.

According to Irma Hujanen, this is one of the biggest questions of the future, and we have to earn the money to produce the services ourselves. Working together, association activities and investing in the ability to function throughout life maintain people's ability to function, which can help prevent the need for money.

- We have a municipality that is losing migration, with an aging population, and that makes it difficult to provide services as well, stated Mustonen. He also thinks that it is necessary to ensure that the services for the elderly are in order, and to support people who are already aging in such a way that by preventing diseases of the musculoskeletal system, a situation can be reached where social and health services are needed less.

Ari Pöyhönen stated that the age distribution in Imatra is better than in Lappeenranta, but we must invest in ensuring that the age distribution does not get too old, and get jobs. More attention than currently needs to be paid to the availability of substance abuse and mental health services.

Ismo Harju thought that Local Services can mean different things to different age groups. The most important thing is that they are accessible and available, no matter what they are. Many of the things that are preferred as local services are not exclusively produced by the city, but there are many other actors as well. The municipality is an enabler, but certainly not alone in ensuring the existence of services in the future. Eija Hauska-Mertanen longed for a positive spin to the city. When the services are in order, it is a good advertisement for the city and makes others fall in love with Imatra. Imatra must have functioning telecommunication connections and transport connections, and healthcare services must be available locally. Substance and mental health services must be accessed on time.

Diverse views on cultural services

The panel also asked how relevant the candidates consider Imatra's cultural services – the library, the city museum, the art museum and the theater – and how to make culture a similar attraction factor as the Ukonniemi tourism and leisure center. Several candidates stated that culture is already an attractive factor: we have a new theater building, a summer theater, museums and library services. Cultural services were generally seen as important, but their maintenance and improvement required money.

- The realities of the economy have treated the library and the museum side quite hard, especially in terms of facilities. On the other hand, it can be seen that with innovative solutions we have been able to preserve local libraries in two districts, Harju stated.

In the opinion of Juuso Mustonen, for whom the library has always been important and dear, all culture has been highlighted, especially during the corona period. Hauska-Mertanen also said that she is a big consumer of the library and that as a child she carried home bags of material from the library next to the school. Now he is particularly pleased with the library's versatile offering for the needs of the digital age.

Juha-Pekka Natus was saddened that culture is mainly supported in party speeches, even though it is the first target to be cut. He encouraged us to look for positive things and opportunities to further develop cultural institutions, because they are attractive factors for which we are known and known. Niskanen thought that Imatra is in a very important part in terms of military history, so there would be interesting development potential and a possible tourist asset in the museum mind. He thought for himself that the older he gets, the more he becomes interested in cultural matters.

Pöyhönen hoped that past mistakes would be learned from, and that summer events would be able to make use of Virra's park, where infrastructure has begun to be built for organizing events.

- When comparing sports and culture, you have to remember that many cultural events take place indoors, where only a few hundred people can be accommodated, Irma Hujanen thought.

- At sporting events, we talk about thousands of spectators.

Hujanen continued that international sports camps also generate accommodation income, and culture cannot be compared to it in that way. In his opinion, it would be worthwhile to connect cultural entrepreneurs and culture to marketing and Imatra Base Camp.

Also the third panel remotely

Due to the corona restrictions, the discussion was held as a remote event, which could be followed live from the city of Imatra's YouTube channel and Facebook. The recording can be viewed with Finnish subtitles until the election.

The next panel will be held on National Veterans Day, Tuesday, April 27 at 13:00 p.m. Its theme is seniors' issues. Panelists from all parties that have nominated candidates for the municipal elections in Imatra 2021 are invited to the event.

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.

Additional information:

Project coordinator Sari Toivonen
p. 020 617 6607
sari.hopeatimatra.fi (sari[dot]toivonen[at]imatra[dot]fi)