Municipalities cut back on non-essential services to save money

Paide Kindergarten's swimming pool.
Paide Kindergarten's swimming pool. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

As energy bills rise, Estonia's local governments are trying to save money by cutting back on non-essential services. One example is Paide, which will close its kindergarten swimming pools for three months this winter.

Swimming is a common activity at kindergartens in the central Estonian town, but the water will be emptied from the pool on December 5 and not refilled until March 1.

"It's a bit sad at first, because our goal in kindergarten is to always provide the best possible environment for a child to develop in. But are trying to find different approaches so that children's days are still fun, varied and their mental and physical development is supported in every way," said Grisly Kuuskler, Paide Kindergarten director.

The city's mayor Kulno Klein (SDE) said cutting children's services is never good.

"Unfortunately, the price increases, especially for energy, are over 40 percent. The city has to make choices somewhere," he told Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

A few parents have protested at the measure, but the majority have been understanding.

"The nursery seems to have only two options - either to reduce the temperature in the group rooms or to do away with swimming lessons for a period of time. I think this last solution is a pretty good method of energy-saving," said Janno Lehemets, whose child attends Sookure kindergarten.

AK also spoke to local officials in Türi, which is also in Jarva County. Its kindergarten swimming pool will be kept open but this is mostly due to a favorable electricity package.

Both towns have already turned down the heating in council offices and schools. Street lighting is also being used economically.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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