The Santa Claus mailbox should have been removed by the end of September. It was not. Po Lin Lee was hoping it would remain.
"Tourists and my friends who live in Longyearbyen, they like it, it gives them hope and happiness," she wrote in an e-mail to the Longyearbyen Community Council on Sept. 23.
Seeking a three-year permit
She received a rejection to her request to allow the mailbox to remain at Sjøområdet. She was also notified she would be fined if it was not removed by Oct. 1.
Lee wrote in her e-mail that she wanted to arrange a three-year permit for the mailbox in December, and hoped to share the joy and celebration of Christmas with children and people in Longyearbyen.
"Hope, hope, really hope that mailbox will remain in the same place," she concluded.
500 kroner a day
It was not to be. A subsequent order came a week later from the city demanding the mailbox be removed by Oct. 31. As of Nov. 1, Lee is being fined 500 kroner a day for not removing it. So far she owes about 9,000 kroner.
"It has not happened in this case after we sent the order," said Tone Sandnesaunet, an attorney for the city.
Will the city remove the mailbox if Lee doesn't?
"That has not been decided yet," Sandnesaunet said.
Attempts by Svalbardposten to reach Lee during the dispute have been unsuccessful.