Labour Party to spend millions on Utøya revamp

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Photo: NTB Scanpix
11:49 CEST+02:00
The youth wing of Norway's Labour Party has announced that it intends to resume hosting summer camps on Utøya island, promising to spend 60 million kroner on redesigning the scene of Anders Behring Breivik's killing spree.
Workers' Youth League (Arbeidernes ungdomsfylking -  AUF) leader Eskil Pedersen confirmed on Friday that the party will return to Utøya, the scene of shootings carried out by convicted terrorist Anders Behring Breivik which left 69 people dead.

"We believe it is the best way to honour the victims," Pedersen said.

Pedersen and chairman of the Utøya association, Martin Henriksen, presented the plans for how Utøya will be rebuilt following the attack on July 22nd 2011.

AUF's 22 July Fund has received around 40 million kroner ($68 million)  for the purpose.The plans AUF presented on Friday constituted a total cost amounting to 60 million.

"We are very grateful for all contributions that provide the opportunity to rebuild Utøya as a place where young people can still meet for political engagement and discussion," AUF said in a statement.

Pedersen acknowledged that opinions differ as to how to revamp the island and that many survivors are against a return.

"We have attempted to take into account as much as possible, but we think it is better that the island is a place that is taken care of and where activities are held other than that the island is laid to waste".

The plans for reconstruction have been developed in collaboration with architects Fantastic Norway and PEAB. AUF has decided to create a memorial in the southern-western tip of the island. It is also decided that future summer camps will not be held on or around July 22nd.

The 22 July national support group is reported to be happy with the AUF plans for a memorial.

"We are in dialogue with AUF about the plans for a memorial on Utøya and think they look very nice," said Trond Henry Blattmann to NTB.

He added that the support group was very appreciative of AUF's emphasis on the memorial aspect, underlining that 22 July should be a day for remembrance and not for holiday.

The plans include a new main building which will contain conference space, meeting rooms, dining room, kitchen facilities, balconies, bazaar area and clock tower and the building of new docks.

Furthermore there are plans for a new beach, to upgrade the football and volleyball courts, drainage for the camping area and changes to lighting. New accommodation will be built and the existing buildings will be upgraded.

In addition, the plans involve a new outdoor stage for concerts and cultural events and the demolition of the café building.

Building work will begin with the rebuilding of existing buildings in the autumn 2012, with the remainder of the project implemented next year.

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