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Upgrades on two main Sant Ferran arterials to begin mid-November

Foto reunio veins de sant ferranv2Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and the rest of the administration's team of senior councillors sat down yesterday evening with members of the Sant Ferran community to give an update on the projects due for completion in town this winter. The presentation got started at 7.30pm in the nearby seniors centre, el Centre de Majors.

Rafael González, Formentera's head of infrastructure, reported that upgrades on two streets —carrer Guillem de Montgrí and carrer València— are on track for a mid-November start. The cost of work on the two key Sant Ferran thoroughfares will cost €1.6 million. The two streets' meeting point will be made into a plaza, with vehicle traffic through town and towards Es Pujols restricted.

For her part, Formentera's education and culture secretary, Susana Labrador, explained that staff of her assorted departments —education, culture and patrimony— would soon relocate to a street-level space beside the CiF Offices of Tourism and Environment on carrer Mallorca. The town's new reading point will soon open next door as well.

Mention was also made of the Govern balear's planned construction, now that the Council has now issued permits, of new primary and nursery schools in Sant Ferran.

New hybrid vehicles added to Formentera local police fleet

Foto vehicles policia localFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, president's office secretary Bartomeu Escandell and Joan Mayans, head of Policia Local de Formentera, congregated in plaça de la Constitució to unveil the law enforcement agency's latest acquisition: two new hybrid vehicles.

The pair of Toyota RAV4s, hybrid all-terrain vehicles, had a total cost of €57.829 (VAT included). The local police force will use the SUVs to replace part of its arsenal purchased ten years ago. Councillor Escandell said that in making the purchase, the administration took into account cars' “adaptability to local terrain and environmental sensitivity”.

In all, Formentera's local police fleet comprises four cars (two hybrids and two combustion engines), one van, four motorcycles and one tow-truck.

Neighbourhood gathering to discuss projects in Sant Ferran

Cartell reunio veins st ferranThe Formentera Council has convened a meeting to inform residents of Sant Ferran about projects on the horizon this winter and other initiatives. The presentation is scheduled to take place Friday, November 3, at 7.30pm in the Sant Ferran seniors' centre (Centre de Majors).

At the event Council president Jaume Ferrer will be joined by the administration's senior councillors as residents are given a glimpse of upgrades —set to begin in November— across two of the town's thoroughfares, carrers Guillem de Montgrí and València.

Attendees will also get a look at the education, culture and patrimony department's relocation in the coming months to a street-level space on carrer Mallorca. The departments will sit alongside the Council's culture and environment office. A new punt de lectura, or reading space, is also scheduled to open shortly in a neighbouring locale.

Updates will likewise be given on the Govern balear's build of the new Sant Ferran primary school and nursery (escoleta), set to move forward now that the Council has issued building permits.

The changes, says Ferrer, aim to revamp Sant Ferran as “the island's cultural centre”. He added that when construction of the new school is completed, a project will begin to equip the former school grounds with a space for culture and the arts.

In monthly session, plenary assembly appeals to port authority to give local boaters mooring space in harbour

Foto votacio ple octubre 2017When the plenary assembly of the Formentera Council gathered for the group's October session, councillors voted in unison to back the government team's plan to press the Balearic port authority (APB) to create a moorage area in la Savina's port for the island's boat owners.

President's office secretary Bartomeu Escandell said that though the port is a commercial hub and home of two marinas, it lacks a zone for the Formentera's owners of pleasure boats. He highlighted a recently announced APB supervisory board decision to not renew one of the two la Savina marina leases when it expires in 2018, and raised the prospect of a public space that could be used by the island's boat owners.

In making their request, the officials have referred to some of the conclusions that emanated from gatherings organised by the island's Consell d'Entitats at the end of 2014 entitled “Looking toward the future of la Savina,” namely, that strategies moving foward should be underpinned not by growth and expansion but optimisation of existing resources. The overhaul could also affect regulated moorage at estany des Peix, a place which, absent space in la Savina's port to do so, local residents have gradually filled with small recreational watercraft. Escandell underscored what he called a “warm relationship” between the Formentera Island Council and Balearic Islands port authority, citing the recent planning and execution of upgrades at the port as well as the revival —both economic and social— afoot in la Savina's port and town.

Budget increase
Members of the plenary also gave the green-light to a proposal from senior councillors on retooling the administration's budget. According to Escandell, who also serves as tax office councillor, €9,746,000 of liquidity, transferred from the treasury, would keep the administration from entering the red despite certain unavoidable expenditures this tax year. With “yes” votes from the senior cabinet and the abstention of the opposition, the measure was approved.

The budget increase is intended to finance the payment of debts of the recently disbanded Consorci Formentera Desenvolupament (€1.7m), free up credit to purchase the Sa Senieta plot (€2.5m, €1m of which will be funded by the sustainable tourism tax), upgrades of carrers Guillem de Montgrí and València in Sant Ferran (€1.4m), patrimony payments for the permit granted, in 2005, for construction of Ca Ses Castellones (€1.55m). Escandell explained the figure would also include credit to cover ordinary operation costs.

Sa Senieta purchase
Senior councillors approved a measure despite the abstention of the other parties to back a proposal to acquire Sa Senieta, a designated site in Formentera's cultural heritage catalogue. The councillor explained the Council's intent to buy Sa Senieta for €2.5 million, one million of which would come from the sustainable tourism fund. Now begins the task of articulating the specific use that the building will be given, though this must be cultural or patrimonial. The councillor justified the Sa Senieta buy referring to “the immense historical value of the home, its singularity and strategic location inside Sant Francesc,” adding the move is a continuation of the policy of reclaiming heritage sites.

Regulatory retooling
The assembled members of the plenary also gave the go-ahead for preliminary approval for an ordinance regulating  occupation of the public thoroughfare. According to land, tourism and trade secretary Alejandra Ferrer, the adjustment seeks a balance between how businesses like restaurants and hotels can use public spaces to conduct business, and the broader public interest, by striving for minimal interference between businesses' use of public land and that of the people, who, she noted, would always trump private interests. Among the proposed tweaks, aimed at “streamlining and simplifying,” Ferrer singled out a requirement that businesses with terraces remain open between 15 May and 15 October, a way to put longer-haul operations over fleeting ventures. The measure won the support of the assembly's senior councillors and members of the Popular Party, and PSOE and Compromís affiliates abstained in the vote.

Session attendees also voted to take a first step towards defining limits on hours that businesses are allowed to play music. Alejandra Ferrer called it “a means to promote silence and good-neighbour relations in the face of proliferating nightlife establishments in assorted urban areas”. Such measures, she said, balance quality of life and the constitutional rights of people in residential areas with nightlife businesses catering to residents and tourists”.

Under the new rules, nightlife outposts in residential areas of Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and el Pilar de la Mola will be forced to curtail their nighttime hours: those previously licensed to operate until six am will be required to close at four am, while those heretofore held to a four-am closing time must close by three am. Article 20 of the ordinance enables the Council to periodically hasten closing times if relevant justification and technical reports have been provided”. The senior cabinet was joined by the councillors of Compromís in supporting the measure, the remaining members of the assembly abstained.

Finally, the assembly voted unanimously to pass a PP proposal for speed bumps near Mestre Lluís Andreu primary school and a Compromís measure for transparency of web-based propositions.

Departmental report
As Formentera's secretary of land, tourism and trade, Alejandra Ferrer, appeared before the assembly, she described the effort to make Formentera sustainable as being propped up by three basic pillars: first, social and cultural, second, economic, and third, environmental.

Ferrer gave an overview of work, including controls, inspections, prosecution and resolutions, assigned to an inspection service created last year. As for occupancy of public thoroughfares, 22 citations were issued this year, with fines totalling €7,800. Illegal operations, meanwhile, were behind 21 violations in which related fines reached €79,113.

In 2017, checks in tourism led to 36 citations whose fines amounted to €108,015, while land use violations precipitated €430,656 in fines. Another 20 citations were issued that carried fines of €551,000.

Councillor Ferrer also highlighted the work of the trade office, for instance, consolidation efforts this winter as well as ongoing promotion of Eivissa and Formentera's small and medium-sized business association (PIMEF), the Chamber of Commerce and island craftworkers.

As well Ferrer spoke about regulating tourism and the work of the land office, including finalising subsidiary regulations, or normes subsidiaries, in Catalan, which allowed the Council to issue building permits for Sant Ferran's new primary and nursery schools. She also touched on the supreme court ruling concerning the 'Punta Prima case,' which was favourable to the administration, and concurred that the subsidiary regulations manoeuvre had been conducted correctly, respectful of the environment and the general public good.

On housing, Councillor Ferrer underscored collaboration with the Govern to ensure detailed information is available about individuals seeking housing on the island. She also held up measures brought before the assembly that day, like the ordinance retooling.

Finally, Ferrer spoke about a kind of tourism promotion that strives for social and environmental responsibility, and pointed to the recent Save Posidonia Project Festival, plus campaigns like Discover Formentera in May and Discover Formentera in October.

Formentera presents Athletic Club with gift

Foto de grup sd for athletic clubToday at noon Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer offered a token of thanks to Athletic Club chief Josu Urrutia for the team's visit to the island. The team will go up against Formentera's football squad, SD Formentera, this afternoon as part of the King's Cup. The tin piece bears iconic local sites like a lighthouse, church, fig tree, cactus and Es Vedrà as seen from Formentera, along with an engraving on a wooden base that reads “From the island of Formentera to Athletic Club. Formentera Council. October 25, 2017”. Local craftworker Sandra Tarrago was commissioned to make the piece, which will take its place today among other items in the Basque club's collection.

The heads of SD Formentera and the Balearic Islands' federation of football teams, Xicu Ferrer and Vicent Bufí, also presented Urrutia with a commemorative plaque for his club. Later, both teams' management, Jaume Ferrer and CiF sports secretary Jordi Vidal sat down for a meal at Restaurant Es Caló.

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