Pyhäjoki & Neighbourhood

Photo by: Henri Luoma

Ylivieska has a positive problem

When Maria Sorvisto left Ylivieska 15 years ago to study law, there were a little over 13,000 residents in the municipality. When she moved back with her family and started her work as the mayor late this summer, there were already more than 15,000 residents.

You officially started your work as the mayor of Ylivieska at the beginning of September. Which issues have employed you the most so far?

A lot of agreements on schedules had to be made in the beginning. In anticipation of the regional government reform, we are preparing a new municipal strategy, currently with resident and entrepreneur surveys.

What is the current status of Ylivieska’s finances? What are the topical issues?

We have covered the old deficit, and we even have some buffer. Naturally, large investments bring with them major challenges. Anybody moving about in Ylivieska can see that something is happening in the municipality. The municipality has made a decision to build a school in Jokiranta and a new comprehensive school. The cost estimates of these two projects total EUR 30 million. We have a positive problem: the number of residents in the municipality has been on the rise since the early 2000s.

What does the current supply of homes and building sites look like in Ylivieska? Has the town zoned more plots for residents and businesses?

Ylivieska’s policy is proactive land use planning. We have a reserve of about five years, or around a hundred building sites. Plots for residential properties are available, especially close to the comprehensive school. There are some old reserves for businesses. We are used to changing the land use planning quickly to cater to the needs of businesses.

"Anybody moving about in Ylivieska can see that something is happening in the municipality."

How does the Hanhikivi 1 project influence your job and the area?

We have participated in a joint marketing event and we are in for the ride. We are happy to offer our services also in the future. I know that some businesses from Ylivieska are involved in the construction work.

What can Ylivieska offer to a person who is thinking about moving here? In your opinion, what is the best feature of Ylivieska?

I believe that the best feature is the town as a whole. Ylivieska is just the right size. You can do a lot here, such as practice sports or attend cultural events. Commercial and public sector services are good. Leisure services are excellent. For example, wonderful concerts will be arranged this year at Cultural Centre Akustiikka. Getting around is ridiculously easy: you can get here by train, and the town is located at a crossroads.

There are good education opportunities, as well. The Federation of Education in Jokilaaksot (JEDU) offers vocational education. There is a branch of Centria University of Applied Sciences in Ylivieska. The town is also home to a folk high school, a summer university, and the Raudaskylä Christian College.

Were you born in Ylivieska? Did you move back now or have you lived here throughout your career?

I’m not native-born: I was born at Asemakylä in Sievi, but I did live in Ylivieska when I was growing up. The last place where I lived with my family was Haapavesi, where I worked as an administrative director and CFO, and I was also the acting mayor for a while. My husband commuted to Ylivieska from there. We moved here in August. Ylivieska has developed over the years, but there are still a lot of familiar places here.

What do you do at your leisure?

We live very much the life of a family with children. We have two children, one in kindergarten and the other in preschool. We do sports and go in for spectator sports. I enjoy handicraft and reading. I’m also a technical expert for the Finnish Ski Association in competitions for the young.

Pyhäjoki & Neighbourhood

Pyhäjoki & Neighbourhood

Improving vitality

Pyhäjoki’s new economic development director Helena Illikainen sees development of the municipality’s vitality as teamwork where input is also needed from the residents.

Pyhäjoki & Neighbourhood

Out at sea despite the weather

The Raahe Maritime Rescue Association assists the maritime rescue operations of the Finnish Border Guard and also actively works with young people.

Pyhäjoki & Neighbourhood

From refugee to restaurant owner

The café-restaurant Rahlan celebrated its first year of operation in early summer. The workers at the Hanhikivi peninsula and local residents have already found their way to the restaurant.