Helsinki runs out of space for its children…

Protagonist: When I was a kid the world was like a balloon. I was getting bigger but then so was everything else. Each time we moved house, we got more space. When I started paying attention to things around me, I saw that everything was bigger and better than it had ever been before. The ferries to Stockholm got bigger, lorries and buses got bigger, Christmas dinners, ice cream helpings, motorway service stations and my school bag got bigger by the year. Then I discovered that the economy also always got bigger, which was good because we could get more of these bigger things and the poor would have education and welfare and good stuff so they wouldn’t have to stay poor.

Narrator: Don’t stop. You’re on a roll.

P: OK. Things didn’t just get bigger, they got better. Like this playground, which was always good, got fancier every few years.

N: I know the one, next to Agricola Church.

P: Yup. And by the way, they were turning the playing field into an ice rink yesterday and today – fantastic, it’s cold enough that even those places without underground cooling can get and skate – for free. In my day there was no fence around it. And the hoses were probably smaller. Still, probably nicer for the guys doing the work.

Anyway, I think the world is now becoming smaller – like, there’s been loads of wealth creation everywhere but there’s this constant need to cut public services – even from before the recession. What’s driving me crazy right now is that Helsinki’s politics seems to be giving plenty of space for what rich people want while its chipping away at the stuff that helps everyone live good lives. So anyway, there’s good news and bad. The good news is that Jack Little Willow’s stupid list of service cuts has been buried.

N: Huh?

P: Littlewillow (Jussi Pajunen, the mayor you know, if you think of ‘paju’ as willow and ‘nen’ as the diminutive…)

N: In a name it means that a place, as in, the willowed place. Stick to the point. What happened?

P: I’ve tried to find out exactly what’s going on here, but it’s kind of hard to track down exactly the right information and documents online. And I don’t want to rely on Hesari but they have given the most succinct version yet of what happened. THE LIST IS BURIED. Yippee!!

N: The library closures and other measures that were supposed to save the city from certain ruin?

P: Yes, the 80 libraries, day care centres, health centres, youth clubs etc. Anyway, that list that raised so many eybrows not to mention tempers, has been shredded and the City Board is going to have to think again about where to make the savings it needs. In the mean time, the Left Alliance-sponsored website keeps folks up to date, and suggests action to influence the next meeting.

N: Of the City Board?

P: Well, this is confusing. The list was drawn up, it seems, by a committee appointed to do just that, the Palveluverkkotyoryhma. But this group was dismantled two days ago, at least according to the City’s website. It doesn’t seem to give you the results of their 6 months work or tell you any more about the list, the financial situation that precipitated it or the reason why, when the City Board meets again in January, it should have anything else to offer.

Kaupunginhallituksen 22.6.2009 asettama palveluverkkojen kehittämisen valmistelua ohjaava ja seuraava työryhmä päätti maanantaina 14.12.2009 työnsä. [The working group set up 22.6.09 to direct and monitor the progressing of development of service networks (yes, that’s pretty much what it says) finished its work on Monday]

… toteaa keskusteluissaan painottaneensa tilojen yhteiskäytön ja uudelleenkäytön mahdollisuuksia, alueellisen tarkastelun tarpeellisuutta sekä asukkaiden ja asiantuntijalautakuntien näkemyksien tärkeyttä. [… it has emphasised shared use and reuse of facilities, the need for regional assessment and the importance of residents’ and expert panels’ perspectives]

N: Hang on a minute, what is the monitoring or whatever of progressing of developing networks?

P: You asking me?

N: And the bad news?

P: Generally speaking that progress has been reversed, the air is going out of the balloon. Well, not quite, it’s an uneven process.  The list includes only addresses in parts of town that rely on public services, i.e. where people don’t have the resources to go private. And secondly, as an addendum (according to that website) it notes that space standards per child in public day care are reduced from 9m2 to 8m2.

From the Peliseis website, here’s the list.

Aino Acktén huvila
Alppilan yläaste
Apollon lukio
Drumsö Klubblokal
Eläintarhan huvila
Ensiopetusryhmä Kaarelan raitti 1
Etu-Töölön vanhusten asuintalon yht.tilat
Fysioterapia, Meripihkatie 1
Haagan peruskoulu
Haagan peruskoulu sivukoulu 2
Harakan saari, taiteilijatyötilat
Hietalahden venesataman huoltotilat
Hiidenkiven peruskoulu, sivukoulu 1
Itäkeskuksen terveysasema
Kampin vanhusten asuintalon yht.tilat
Kannelmäen peruskoulu sivukoulu 1
Kivelän sairaala rakennus 9
Koivusaaren veneilyn tukikohta
Korttelitupa Kotipirtti
Koskelan sairaala, 2 toipilasosastoa
Koskelan sairaala, rakennus A
Koskelan sairaala, rakennus G
Koskelan sairaalan hammashoitola
Koskelan terveysasema
Kotinummen ala-aste
Käpylän peruskoulu
Laajasalon ala-aste
Leikkipuisto Kiikku
Leikkipuisto Laurinniitty
Leikkipuisto Savela
Leikkipuisto vallila
Länsi-Helsingin lukio
Maatullin ala-aste
Malmin avokuntoutus
Malmin virkistyskeskus
Malminkartanon ala-aste
Malminkartanon kirjasto
Mellunmäen hammashoitola
Munkkiniemen nuorisotalo
Myllypuron hammashoitola
Nordsjö-Rastis
Nuorisotalo, Harju
Nuorisotalo, Kumpula
Nurkkatien ala-aste
Paloheinän terveysasema
Pelimannin ala-aste
Pienryhmäkoti (Kumpula)
Pitäjänmäen kirjasto
Pohjoinen omahoidon toimintakeskus
Pohjois-Haagan vanhusten asuintalon yht.tilat
Psykiatrinen poliklinikka, Malmi
Psykiatrinen poliklinikka, Oulunkylä
Psykiatrinen päiväsairaala, Kulosaari
Puistolan ala-aste
Puistolan terveysasema
Pukinmäen kirjasto
Päiväkoti Satama
Päiväkotiryhmä Köydenpunojankatu
Päivätoiminta Kaisla
Rintinpolun hammashoitola
Roihuvuoren ala-aste
Roihuvuoren kirjasto
Ruoholahden kuntotalo
Ruukinrannan (Laajalahden) venesatama
Ryhmäperhepäiväkoti Loki
Ryhmäperhepäiväkoti Venho
varakoti Saattajapalvelu,
Työvoiman palvelukeskus (Sörnäinen)
Siilitien peruskoulu
Siltamäen ala-aste
Soinisen koulu
Taidekeskus (Sörnäinen)
Talin golfkentän rakennukset
Tapulikaupungin kirjasto
Työvoiman palvelukeskus
Töyrynummen ala-aste
Vallilan kirjasto
Vermon raviradan maa-alue
Vuosaaren vanhusten asuintalon yht.tilat
Yhtenäiskoulun lukio

Päiväkotien tilamitoitus muutetaan nykyisestä 9 m2/lapsi pienemmäksi eli 8 m2/lapsi.

(Lisäksi listan tekstissä esitetään lopetettavaksi myöhemmin vielä tarkemmin määrittelemättömät 3 terveysasemaa ja 5 hammashoitolaa lisää.)

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