From Iceland — Local Council Votes Against Luxury Hotel Near Lake Þingvallavatn

Local Council Votes Against Luxury Hotel Near Lake Þingvallavatn

Published February 6, 2018

Photo by
Anna Guðmundsdóttir via Flickr

The municipality of Bláaskógabyggð has recently voted against the idea of building a luxurious hotel and spa in the area of Skálabrekka, at the border with Þingvellir National Park.

As we reported in December, an Icelandic couple had drafted a proposal to build a luxur hotel next to the National Park which would be comprised of 120 to 160 rooms. In addition, the couple planned on building a spa, a restaurant, an Information Centre and a campsite, followed by a more affordable hotel, country houses, a sports centre, an area for greenhouses, a standard golf course and a golf club. Can you say “think big” five times fast?

The municipality of Bláaskógabyggð, which was supposed to review the project, took in great consideration the possible environmental impact of an architectural project of such magnitude, and finally voted against it during a meeting on February 1st. While Skálabrekka is not part of the National Park, in fact, it lies right at its Western border and above an area protected by the law 85/2005 which ensures water preservation in Lake Þingavallavatn.

It’s worth noting that the municipality did not ban the landowners to build a hotel in the future, if they wish to do so. However, as it’s noted in the public transcript of the meeting, the council reminds the couple that a future decision is subject to the law 65/2006 about the protection of the water and biosphere of Lake Þingvallavatn, which bans business activities that may lead to pollution. As the law states, the only individual who can grant exemption from the law itself is the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, provided of course that the surrounding area is protected in adequate manners.

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