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Formentera clears the way for new rules on for-profit holiday rentals

votacio---ple-extra-abril-20191The Formentera Council convened its full assembly today for a one-off session that brought approval for an assortment of tourism regulation statutes which, in the words of land and tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer, “will get the ball rolling on registration so we can see single- and multi-family homes cleared as holiday rentals as early as this summer”.

The first measure—backed by Gent per Formentera and the Socialists and voted against by the Popular Party—involved the final go-ahead for a one-off tweak of the island's Pla Territorial Insular (“Land Strategy”). The changes, which are geared towards protecting historical residential areas, include new tourism zoning for five thousand rental permits in rural parts of the island (except the vicinity of ses Salines and Formentera's Xarxa Natura) along with es Pujols, la Savina, es Caló, es Ca Marí and Mariland. The changes put the new cap for places turístiques (“rental permits”) at 20,585: 12,081 for hotels and 8,504 for private home vaction rentals. Ferrer said the move was about “striking a balance between islanders' quality of life and tourism” not to mention “ensuring year-round housing for all and improving the economic situation”.

Plan for quality
A number of new statutes were adopted as well: one GxF- and PSOE-backed measure (PP party members abstained) about the pla de qualitat for local holiday rentals. Ferrer framed them as “the make-or-break conditions that single- and multi-family homes must uphold if they are adapted for tourism”.

Debated by members of the Consell d'Entitats, the Plan for Quality sets minimum standards—renewable energy and parking spaces for bikes, to name two—for things like furniture, hygiene, general lodging conditions and environmental essentials. If property owners can prove compliance with the standards (26 points are compulsory while another 20—of which a total of 14 must be completed—are judged on a case by case basis) they obtain an accreditation known as “DRIAT”.

Administrative fee
Full assembly support came for a measure involving comments and definitive approval on the regulatory ordinance for the administrative service fee on tourism. The ordinance sets the processing fee at €300 for a 5-year rental permit and €150 for yearly renewal.

Fee for rental permits
“Yes” votes from GxF and PSOE councillors meant backing, despite PP abstention, for comments about and approval of a by-law regulating the per-bed cost of permits to provide rental accommodation. A rental permit for one bed costs €70/year and another 5% for each additional bed: a one-bed permit costs €70; the second costs €70+5% (€73.5); the third €73.5+5%, and so on until the base amount at the twelfth permit (€119.72).

April 23, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Consell de Formentera

Upgrades on Sant Ferran thoroughfare

obres-sant-ferran1This Wednesday and Thursday crews will asphalt Sant Ferran's avinguda Joan Castelló i Guasch.

The Formentera Council's infrastructure office reports that asphalt will be laid on avinguda (avenue) Joan Castelló i Guasch in Sant Ferran in the morning and afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday, April 24-25.

Traffic will be regulated during construction. Even still, CiF infrastructure chief Rafael González asked motorists for patience for any slow-down that might occur during the work, which he called “crucial to wrapping up construction”.

April 23, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Formentera Council

Formentera launches marketplace consultation before renewing waste collection and cleaning contracts

foto-servei-neteja1The Formentera Council's environment department reports that the administration is commissioning a marketplace consultation ahead of the upcoming tender of contracts for urban solid waste and organic matter collection and transport, roadway cleaning and landscaped area and beach maintenance. The current contract ends February 28, 2020.

“The test will be conducted before the service goes to tender so we can make sure we're getting the best technical solutions for Formentera's particular situation”, said CiF environment chief Daisee Aguilera. The move, said the councillor, is about “ensuring we pick the service provider who can offer us the most”, which is why the administration is teeing up a series of questions for firms that specialise in the domain.

Collection systems
Companies that submit proposals for collection systems will have to meet the recycling goals outlined in the island's waste directive, not to mention make accommodations for the local land strategy—the Pla Territorial Insular—over the eight years (renewable for another two) the contact is valid.

Proposals must also be attuned to regional legislation on contaminated wastes and soils, and bidders will have to present financially viable proposals that include environmentally sound machinery and vehicles which align with Formentera's sustainable mobility strategy.

The proposal, adopted by government committee on April 5 and published on the national public tender platform, can be viewed at https://contrataciondelestado.es/wps/wcm/connect/f58063f1-b0c3-4c3a-b417-c4b4905fe6c2/DOC201904091221212_Cert+Acord+Prop+Consultes+Preliminars+del+Mercat.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

Interested firms have until April 29 to submit their bids.

Highlighting the fragility of the island and the importance of preservation, councillor Aguilera said priority would be given to sustainability and firms that factor for Formentera's limited water resources by using reclaimed water and take appropriate precautions to protect resources like Posidonia oceanica in their beach cleanup plans.

April 17, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Formentera Council

Walkers and runners: “De far a far” this Sunday

de-far-a-far premsa1On Sunday April 21, the CiF sports department and Grup Esportiu Espalmador will put on the sixth De far a far. Walkers will hit the road at 9.00am at the es Cap lighthouse and participants in the footrace set out from the same point two hours later. Both will cut a 26K path to the lighthouse in la Mola.

Shuttle buses will take participants to the starting point. Walkers can catch the bus at 7.45am in la Savina port, at 8.00am at Poliesportiu Antoni Blanc and 8.15am at the crossroads of the es Cap and Cala Saona roads. Bus service for runners begins in la Savina at 9.45am and makes stops at the fitness centre and the es Cap/Cala Saona crossroads at 10.00am and 10.15am.

Online signups are open until Friday April 19 on elitechip.net, or up to an hour before the start times at the elitechip table at the starting points. The footrace costs €20 and the walk €15. The final three kilometres of es Cap road will be closed to vehicle traffic from 9.00am to 9.30am and 11.00am to 11.30am. No other roads will be closed because the rest of the route plays out on side streets and dirt roads.

De far a far is part of the Council's programme of events to attract visitors at the beginning and end of the traditional summer season, and this year is included in Holy Week celebrations.

April 17, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Formentera Council

Island launches www.formentera.eco reservations platform for July and August drivers

foto-presentacio---web-reserve1The Formentera Council convened the local tourism sector and islanders at large for an unveiling of the www.formentera.eco website, a presentation aimed at bringing people up to speed on the new reservations platform for anyone planning to drive on the island in July and August.

As the event got underway at 10.00am in the Council's Sala de Plens, Jaume Ferrer gave an overview of everything that's happened since the Consell d'Entitats formulated the original request—(“regulate the vehicles coming onto Formentera to avoid highway saturation during the core months of the season”)—back in 2014.

“We've been at it since then”, said Ferrer, “and this year, on January 29, legislation for Formentera's environmental and economic stability finally took effect, giving us the authority to determine how vehicles are brought onto the island”. With decision-making authority, plus the buy-in of both the Consell d'Entitats and the administration's plenary assembly, Formentera came up with a cap on the number of vehicles that will be allowed on local roads during the first months of what is a ground-breaking programme in Spain. A key part of getting there was the creation of the www.formentera.eco website, which was unveiled today.

Web: formentera.eco
CiF communications chief Elena Trinidad led a demo of the website, pointing up its four functionalities, the first of which is a search engine which enables tourists to view a calendar of availability and determine (and reserve) the dates of their visit. Tourists must pay one euro per day to bring a car, or fifty cents daily for scooters. A first email will be sent to verify the reservation; a second email contains a link to complete payment.

The second functionality, for individuals, businesses and operators of certain vehicles, is a one-stop process enabling motorists to obtain the authorisation for the rest of the season. With this feature, Formentera residents can register their personal vehicles at no cost and are not submitted to limits.

The third part of the website enables drivers to use their vehicle plate number to check if a reservation has been processed correctly. A fourth section of the platform will feature all the details about the project, including downloadable, shareable material and other useful info like public transport schedules.

Automatic accreditation
CiF mobility councillor Rafael González pointed out that if a vehicle has a blue and green zone parking permit, accreditation to be on the road in July and August is automatic. Council officials say they expect the synching of www.formentera.eco and the administration's own database—enabling islanders to see if they've received the automatic go-ahead—to be completed this May.

González stressed that car-hire companies can complete multiple registrations at the same time for vehicles within the same fleet. Businesses will be contacted in May and provided log-info enabling them access to a dedicated section of the new platform.

Eye on tourism
For her part, CiF tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer underscored her department's efforts to ensure the aesthetics of the project squared with the island's message for tourists. Staff trawled the department's catalogue of images to put forward a sustainable vision of Formentera. The department has also been contributing information to the site and made it a talking point at travel expos since January. The global response has been extremely positive.

“Travelers from outside Spain don't typically bring their vehicles when they visit”, said Ferrer, “but we've detected a great deal of interest at travel expos”. “Feedback has been fabulous”, she continued, “people get that this is about conservation, which happens to be a core interest for most of our visitors”.

The website will be translated in six languages. Today's grand-opening was in Catalan and tomorrow will see the addition of Spanish and English, with the Italian, French and German equivalents expected up in May.

April 15, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Formentera Council

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