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On car free day, bus users ride no charge

dia sense cotxe premsaToday, Tuesday 22 September, the Formentera Council's office of transport feted European Car Free Day. All day long, to mark the occasion, ticket requirements were waived on bus lines 1 and 2 and —as transport councillor Rafael González explained— this morning organisers pitched an exhibition of electric vehicles at the plaça de la Constitució in Sant Francesc.

Promoting a sustainable island
González declared that the goal of the two actions had been to «strive for sustainable transport on the island, and to make this something that sets us apart». The dimensions of Formentera, said the councillor, «make it the ideal island for the promotion of these kinds of vehicles, which are increasingly feasible».

«This is exactly why the administration has long been behind the effort to promote their use», he elaborated. González highlighted some of the advantages of electric cars: parking in blue and green zones of la Savina and access to the Parc Natural de Ses Illetes that are both free of charge, as well as a 75% reduction on the local circulation tax.

Network of recharge points
In due form, the Formentera Council has built up a network of 12 electric vehicle recharge stations, scattered across the different urban centres of the island. With the totality of the costs met by the administration, the stations allow 28 drivers to charge their automobiles completely free.

The day's exhibition of electric cars and scooters enjoyed the participation of two of the three Formentera businesses that have made important investments in sustainable transport, Cooltra and Europcar. Also on display were an electric scooter from the Formentera Local Police vehicle fleet and an electric bicycle available to Council staff. Residents and tourists alike were given the opportunity to get a close-up look at how the two vehicles work.

Camí Vell nursery school to operate year round

escoletaThe education office of the Formentera Council has announced that the latest edition to the island's schools —the Camí Vell escoleta— will stay open all year long. Such was the announcement made by Susana Labrador, the local councillor of educational affairs. Labrador noted the nursery was originally intended as a relief resource for parents during the summer months, May to October. However, parents' requests that the school remain open even after summer's end were behind the decision to expand the service.

Start of the school year
Today was the first day of the 2015-2016 school year at the escoletes (nurseries) of Formentera. The two centres —Sa Miranda, which has seven classrooms, and Camí Vell, which has two— now boast 121 students and 15 teachers. At present seven available places at the Camí Vell nursery counter a twelve-child waiting list at Sa Miranda. Councillor Labrador announced that in the coming days families awaiting word from Sa Miranda would be contacted and given the opportunity to fill the spots still free at the Camí Vell escoleta. After that, the two schools' wait lists will be combined.

Escoletes represent the first stage in the educational process, creating a space where families can share the caregiving load. The goal is to forge an environment where growth can take place and children can be together. The spaces are conceived to facilitate creation, experimentation, fun and experience-sharing, all in a context that respects a variety of personal rhythms and styles.

Maintenance crew heads back-to-school cleaning effort at Formentera schools

brigada mantenimentThe Formentera Council office of infrastructure has ordered maintenance operations to be carried out at the three primary schools of the island — Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and la Mola. CiF councillor of infrastructure Rafael González explained the Council's goal for the project: “To have everything ready to go for the start of the school year — next Friday, 11 September”.

Coordinating their efforts with the administrations of each school, the Council maintenance crew performed the following duties: “Inside and outside painting of school buildings; checks of electrical wiring, ICT cables and toilets; and playground cleaning and maintenance”.

Replacement of fences
Moreover, twenty-eight thousand five-hundred euros will go toward “the total replacement of the fencing around the Sant Francesc school (Col·legi Mestre Lluís Andreu) and the partial replacement of fencing at schools in Sant Ferran and la Mola,” according to Councillor González. Additionally, at Col·legi Mestre Lluís Andreu CiF workers will complete construction of a new shaded area, a project with a price tag of €10,000. In additional news, the administration has recently been in talks with the Govern Balear to fast-track the different projects that the Balearic regional department of education (la conselleria d'Educació) has committed to carrying out here on the island.

Education and universities councillor makes first visit to island

visita conseller educacioEarlier today, members of the Formentera Council —President Jaume Ferrer and councillor of education Susana Labrador— had the opportunity to meet with several visiting representatives of the Govern Balear. From the autonomous government in Palma, education and universities councillor Martí March, education delegate in Eivissa and Formentera Margalida Ferrer, director general of planning and administrations Antonio Morante and director general of innovation and educational communities Jaume Ribas Seguí were all present for gatherings with the local administration.

Top priority: Sant Ferran school
At the encounter, President Ferrer articulated the requests of the local educational community. “The priority is building a new school in Sant Ferran. We have pushed for this for years and are anxious see it happen. The sooner the better,” Ferrer explained after the meeting.

Moreover, the Consell Insular de Formentera (CiF) administration appealed to Councillor March to make an effort in the coming year “to bolster the number of technical programmes available. These are programmes that have suffered cutbacks four years running”. Ferrer voiced his appreciation for the education councillor's visit and the amenable nature of the talks, which he noted were a far cry from those of the previous legislative sitting, “when not one of the three education office councillors in Palma made an official visit to Formentera”.

Cooperation between administrations
For his part, the Govern Balear's education councillor said the visit was necessary in order to start “formulating an idea about the real needs present here on Formentera”. Following such analysis, he said, the goal will be “to create a road map —for both the medium and long term— to meet those needs”. March indicated the smooth communication enjoyed by the Palma and Formentera administrations “will be key for our work together in the future”.

Councillor March assured that the 2016 budget would include funding for construction of the new Sant Ferran school, stating, “[this is] a plan we want to make sure moves forward. We will do whatever it takes to ensure it happens as soon as possible”. March also expressed his sympathy for the push to increase the number of technical courses of study available on the island — and to add an arts module to the batxillerat programme of Formentera's secondary school. Having completed the day's talks with Formentera Council officials, March went on to meet with representatives of the educational community on the island.

Regional minister of town and country planning, energy and transport makes first official visit to Formentera

Visita Joan BonedToday marked the first official visit to Formentera by Joan Boned, regional minister of town and country planning, energy and transport for the Govern Balear. Right off the boat, Secretary Boned joined Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer on a visit of the island's power plant. A meeting followed at the CiF main office that was attended by the Council's town and country planning and tourism councillor, Alejandra Ferrer, councillor of infrastructure and transport Rafael González and environment councillor Daisee Aguilera. The meeting was also attended by the Govern Balear's director general of energy and climate change, Joan Groizard.

Meeting with residents of Es Ca Marí neighbourhood
After the encounter in Sant Francesc, the regional minister met with residents of Es Ca Marí to discuss the problem of excessive noise at the nearby power station, an issue which had also been central to the morning gathering of administration officials. Jaume Ferrer explained that now more than ever “Formentera is hanging on by a thread”, referring to last week's rupture of one of two electric cables linking Eivissa with Formentera. Officials of the Council stressed their concern with regard to the precariousness of the island's power station. While acknowledging the absence of easy solutions to the problem, Secretary Boned committed to “working together with residents of the neighbourhood and the local administration to resolve the issue”.

IBAVI information desk in Formentera
Another assurance made by the Govern minister regarded the imminent creation of an information desk to address the housing issues of locals, whether that meant simply answering basic questions or—when possible—helping Formenterencs avoid travelling to other islands to complete formalities. Over the course of the day's encounter the Council also voiced its request that a Govern-drafted report on maritime transport set minimum frequencies and maximum prices for ferry journeys between Eivissa and Formentera. The Council also used the occasion to petition for improvements to public ground transport. Finally, officials spoke about the work that remained in order to permanently dissolve the Consorci Formentera Desenvolupament, or Formentera Development Consortium.

The town and country planning, energy and transport minister expressed his intention to create a calendar for the resolution of the different issues and “determine the working groups necessary to solving them as soon as possible”.

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