A spokesman for the landowners at South Iceland’s famous Geysir area says the government is being hypocritical in trying to ban them from charging entry to the site.
Garðar Eiríksson told Stöð 2 that following an agreement to suspend applying for a court mandated ban on charging entry to Geysir, the landowners have not heard from the government at all. The ten-day suspension, which ran out today, was supposed to have given the state and the other landowners time to discuss the issue and come to a possible agreement.
The issue of people being charged ISK 600 (USD 5/EUR 4) to see Geysir, Strokkur and the other hot springs has proven extremely controversial. The Icelandic state, which is one of the area’s joint owners, applied for a legal injunction on the entry charge on 16th April, but then asked the South Iceland District Commissioner to suspend the ban for ten days. The District Commissioner has today implemented the ban and forwarded the case to the District Court for confirmation.
“That time was supposed to be used for some kind of dialogue on the issue, but unfortunately we haven’t heard from our co-owner,” Garðar told Vísir.is.
Garðar said the owners had hoped for some positive results from the talks and went on to accuse the government of hypocrisy. The state is against land owners charging entry to the Geysir area at the same time as it itself is charging people entry to places including the Þingvellir National Park – and using the same arguments about protection and development as justification.
“It’s also interesting that the state is part owner of the Blue Lagoon area, through the Orkuveita Suðurnesja energy company, and there they charge admittance for walking around the area without actually going into the lagoon.”
The matter will now be dealt with by the courts and will take some time. If either party is unhappy with the Reykjavík District Court’s decision then they can appeal to the Supreme Court of Iceland – and a final decision could have to wait until late this year.