Coastal nature at Askøy threatened by development

Tressmarka and Eidvika must be preserved for the future!

Eidsvika, vik i sjø med bratte klipper rundt

Southeath at Askøy, between the villages Marikoven and Follese, lays a larger area of undeveloped land called Tressmarka. It consists of swamp, heather, open land, pine and birch forest. To the east in the 430 acre large area, towards Hjeltefjorden, lays an untouched coast with bays and mountains that plunge sharply into the sea. In the municipalities current area plan, it is designated an agriculture, nature, and recreational zone (Landbruk, natur og friluftsliv – LNF).

Eidsvika is often used for outdoor activities, especially for the residents of Marikoven. Follese school has long used the location for trips and excursions to the shore. Here are mountain walls with bolted tracks for climbing. The rock walls give nesting spaces for ravens. Many types of birds of prey have been spotted. Cuckoos live here. Seagulls, ducks, cormorants and eider live at a small skerry near the inlet of the biggest bay.

Jan Nordstrøm
Mona Maria Løberg
Mona Maria Løberg
Biodiversity in Tressmarka.

The area is owned by Follese Fellesskap who in the last fifteen years have had the goal of rezoning it as a residential- or commercial zone. Tertnes Holding AS owns stakes in Folles Fellesskap. Early on there were plans for a larger number, but in 2020 a comprehensive plan was presented for the world’s first zero emission cruise port called “Kildn”, and a hub for a blue city transit system called “Fjordmetroen”.

Tertnes Holding As has several prospects for the cruise port: consulting firms Cowi, EY (Ernst & Young), and Asplan Viak have each developed possible drafts. In the beginning, the project was expected to generate 2500 new jobs, 1800 of these in office and administration. In the first draft the port would welcome 20.000 cruise ship tourists each day, all of which would be transported around the district with zero emission express boats. Later in the process they have talked less about cruise, and more about the blue Fjordmetro, but as the company spokesperson says:

– We need a bit of cruise business for the project to be profitable.

The municipality’s subject group recommended that the area keep its current designation of LNF, but in spring 2022 a majority of politicians in the Askøy chairmanship decided that the project must be further investigated.

In the proposal for a new municipal area plan (Kommuneplanens Arealdel – KPA), being considered this spring, 2024, suggestions for harbour development in Eidsvika and Brakedalsvika are also included.

The Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature (Naturvernforbundet) in Askøy and Hordaland strongly opposes these plans. Inviting more cruise tourists to the Bergen area is not a green development. The blue Fjordmetro will not have a passenger basis when we see that both Askøy and Øygarden have not focused on building national roads. Destroying undeveloped nature also doesn’t harmonise with a green, sustainable development.

531 residents of Askøy have signed a statement that they don’t want a cruise port in Eidsvika. The topic was brought up during the election in 2023: Askøylisten, SV, MDG, AP, and INP said they would not support this project, while the majority of the municipal council consisting of Høyre, FrP, KrF, SP, Venstre, and Pensjonistpartiet will look further into the plans from Tertnes Holding AS.

– They haven’t decided, says mayor Yngve Fosse (H).

Today the Facebook group Friends of Eidsvika (Eidsvikas Venner) has 1129 members. There we publish all information about this project (which, for the record, no political parties locally, regionally, or nationally have said they want). Askøy has a well functioning express boat connection between Kleppestø and Bergen. This will soon become electric – and there is a large area for parking at Kleppestø dock.

The cruise port Kildn is a private initiative that would destroy the last remaining nature area in southern Askøy if it were to be realised. Kildn will never become green. We have trust that our politicians, when they finalise the area plan, will choose to take care of the priceless nature. The best thing would be that the whole area was preserved for future generations.

Written by 

Jan Nordstrøm

Leader of Naturvernforbundet Askøy