Haltiala features many species that live in the rotten wood of old decayed spruces. The biggest of the large ferns in the forest is Ostrich Fern. Photos: Joe Pimenoff

City Board proposes a nature reserve for northern Helsinki

The Helsinki City Board has made a decision to propose to the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment that a new nature reserve be established in northern Helsinki. The nature reserve would comprise the Haltiala forest located in the northern section of the Helsinki Central Park, which is one of the areas of the Helsinki nature conservation programme 2015–2024. 

The City Board made the decision at its meeting of 24 February 2020. 

The Haltiala forest – Haltialanmetsä in Finnish – fulfills the requirements for establishing a nature reserve in accordance with the Nature Conservation Act. The Haltiala forest is a versatile area of different forest types. The area has high value in terms of national nature conservation goals owing to its many nature types and to its endangered and demanding species of fungi. 

The proposed nature reserve would be 137 hectares, making it the largest conserved forest area in Helsinki. The future nature reserve would link the primeval Haltiala protected forest and the Pitkäkoski groves, two earlier nature conservation areas. 

A maintenance and operation plan has been drafted by a consultant for the nature reserve of the Haltiala forest to serve as a basis of the nature conservation proposal. The plan presents the proposed conservation methods to retain the area’s natural values and the activities to enable sustainable recreational uses. 

The Haltiala area is one of the main recreational outdoor areas in the Helsinki region. The area is estimated to receive two million visitors per year.  

City Board makes a statement on the final report of the healthcare and social welfare investigation 

At its meeting of 24 February, the City Board issued a statement to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on the final report of the separate investigation of the healthcare and social welfare system for Uusimaa, the Helsinki metropolitan area and Helsinki. The City of Helsinki considers that the most appropriate alternative for the healthcare and social welfare reform in Uusimaa would have been a municipality-based solution. 

However, in a situation where the objective of the Government Programme is a national solution based on autonomous regions, the five-region model presented in the report forms a natural basis for further preparation of the separate solution for Uusimaa. 

The City considers that the proposed five-region model takes into consideration the specific service needs of the Uusimaa Region, which do not exist in other regions of Finland to the same extent. The model also takes into consideration the special circumstances of Uusimaa as the organizer of rescue services. 

However, the City Board statement pays attention to the fact that the preparation of the healthcare and social welfare financing model is incomplete and, on the whole, the separate solution can be commented on when the preparation of the financing model has also progressed. 

At its meeting, the City Board also noted a report on the activities of the bilingualism committee during its term 2017–2019. The committee had heard relevant actors in charge of the City’s bilingual operations and investigated the situation with Swedish-language services. 

The decisions of the City Board meeting of 24 February are posted on the decisions release page. A release on decisions is posted on the page until minutes are issued. All City Board meeting agendas and minutes are available here. All documents are in Finnish.