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Jaume Ferrer applauds efforts of Govern and community leaders to cap inbound vehicles

foto consell govern 2018 1This morning Formentera was the scene of a meeting of the Consell de Govern, or “Council of Government”, which ended in approval for a draft bill key to the island's environmental and economic stability.

After the gathering Formentera Council chief Jaume Ferrer hailed the Council of Government's decision to back legislation which, if it receives the go-ahead of the Balearic parliament, would regulate incoming vehicles on the island.

“Now political forces in the Parlament must debate the measure and decide what its entry in force will look like”, said Ferrer, who said he was confident the initiative would ultimately score definitive approval. “This law will give Formentera a say about how many vehicles can circulate on the island”, he said, and called the support already secured “very encouraging”, confiding: “What we've seen today is that the Balearic Islands support our initiative to retain control of our own land”.

At a gathering last year of the first ministers, or presidents, who represent the distinct islands in the Balearic archipelago, Ferrer said individual islands should have more clout when decision being made directly impact them specifically.

At a 2014 meeting of the Consell d'Entitats, a council of representatives from the local community, Formentera residents identified a preponderance of vehicles as a threat to the island's model of existence and the quality of life of its inhabitants.

Ferrer, who celebrated the fact that “today our two pleas have been heard simultaneously”, also thanked regional first minister Francina Armengol and the rest of Formentera's neighbours in the Balearics for the hand they played in the process.

Lastly, addressing the people of Formentera at large, Ferrer said “when the requests are fair, well-reasoned and people are willing to roll up their sleeves, work together and get their hands dirty, we get results”.

Sa Senieta

The Formentera chief sat down with Fanny Tur, the minister of culture, participation and sport in the Balearics, to sign an agreement whereby the Council, as the title holder of the property, grants the regional agency use rights for Sa Senieta at no charge. The Palma department pledges in turn to oversee restoration and upgrades to equip the facility with an exhibition space for the future Formentera museum.

Today's agreement was preceded by the Council of Government's green-lighting of €500,000 in financing for the building's purchase.

Formentera green-lights construction of assisted living residence and reforms on Sant Ferran street

foto ple extra setembre 2018When members of the Formentera Council congregated today for an extraordinary plenary session, the motions they opted to support included a contract to build the island's assisted living residence as well as a call for bids ahead of upgrades on a Sant Ferran road.

Future residence
Assembly members voted unanimously to adopt a measure from the senior cabinet to award a works contract for a live-in dependent care centre.

Infrastructure secretary Rafael González, who called the facility “fundamental for Formentera and islanders”, added it was “the crowning piece, along with the funeral home currently under construction, of the island's network of public health facilities”. González boasted the completed project would mean “a decent service with which to care for our elders”, and said it represented “more than just a quality of life improvement” but that “birth, life and death on Formentera” would at long last be possible.

Work on the nearly two-million euro buildout, which spans 1,169.17 square metres, will start this winter and has an estimated 16-month timeline. The project, essentially an expansion of the island's dependent care centre (known as the Centre de Dia), will create 14 additional single and two new double rooms, supporting a total of 18 people. The new structure will house a reception area, visitor services, a dining hall, living room and areas for nursing staff, medical exams and storage.

The Balearic Islands' social welfare ministry will cover 70% of costs while the Formentera Council will put up the remaining 30% in addition to the land on which construction takes place.

Avinguda Joan Castelló i Guasch upgrades
With support from Gent per Formentera representatives and abstention from PP, PSOE and Compromís party members, the day's gathering also brought approval for a  motion to put to tender upgrades on Sant Ferran's avinguda Joan Castelló i Guasch. The administration is also calling for bids to manage the reforms and oversee the project's progress.

“We'd like these upgrades to act as a coil-spring for the town of Sant Ferran. To make it a pleasant place to live and an easy one to get around on foot”, explained the infrastructure chief. González pointed to another aspiration as well: Revitalising local commerce. He noted the upgrades would “fulfil the same criteria” as last winter's work on carrers Guillem de Montgrí and València. At that time, crews “took out architectural barriers, widened the pavements and implemented metred parking”. The current upgrades, he said, will mark a continuation of the previous project and “put the same benefits within reach of the other townspeople”.

The reforms project on the avinguda (“avenue”) known as Joan Castelló i Guasch covers a range of pavement surface improvements,  the undergrounding of services like sanitation, drinking water, telephone, electricity and street lights. The proposal also covers expansion of pedestrian spaces and would mean eliminating architectural barriers and incorporating a dedicated bike lane along the entire road. Recharge points along the road are envisioned as well.

Engineers of the project, a continuation of the improvements on carrers Guillem de Montgrí and València, are hoping for the same “single surface fix” (i.e. uniform levelling of the pavement and road surface  heights) as the one used for the earlier revamp. The six-month deadline is intended to ensure completion in time for the 2019 tourist season. The €1,858,000 price tag includes execution and management of the works.

In the first half of October, the Council will convene a gathering of Sant Ferran residents in order to detail the proposed changes, similar to the process that preceded upgrades on carrers Guillem de Montgrí and València.

Formentera schools hail return of police liaison officer

Foto policia localThe president's office of the Formentera Council reports that next week will see the reappearance of a law-enforcement figure which had recently been absent from local schools: the liaison officer.

President's office secretary Bartomeu Escandell attributed the service's revival to the efforts of Formentera's local police, describing liaison officers as “crucial for the community and for young people in particular”.

The phase-in will take effect on Monday September 17, and will find the officer placing calls to contacts at schools, associations and offices of the public administration related to the service.

Officer's role
The liaison officer, also known as a policia tutor or policia referent in Catalan, is a member of the local police who collaborates with educational staff and social services agents while retaining the authority of law-enforcement agents. Such officers are specially trained, with instruction in domestic and school conflict resolution and preventing risk behaviour in young people.

Liaison officers work in schools and other public places and are often enlisted to deal with issues related to information technologies. Formentera's liaison officer will oversee surveillance, prevention work involving minors and cooperation with social work professionals. The officer's purview at schools will extend to truancy, classroom conflict or in-school crime, drug and alcohol use, bullying and illicit uses of social media. A second officer will work with schools to oversee road-safety education.

The officer will also work with Formentera Council's social services department and the Guardia Civil as necessary.

Education secretary Susana Labrador hailed the reinstatement of the liaison officer as “a pivotal part of effective prevention and youth engagement”, pointing up “talks, conferences, patrols at the start and end of school days and a host of other important work”.

The figure of the liaison officer has been championed by the Council's safety, education and social services departments and is the result of close collaboration between the institute of public safety (ISPIB), part of the Balearic ministry of public institutions.

Formentera lifeguards cap high-season with second 'torxada'

foto torxada 1The lifeguard service of the Formentera Council wishes to announce that Sunday, September 16 at 6.30pm, staff will meet on Es Pujols beach for the team's second ever torxada. The evening of cameraderie will see the lifeguards putting their swimming, towing and racing skills to the test, along with other good, clean fun. At sundown, they'll take to the water, equipped with flaming torxes (“torches”).

Team chief Marco Antonio Lage says it's about “coming together as a team as we prepare to say our first goodbyes to those leaving already”. The whole island, says Lage, is encouraged “to check out the spectacle, and get to know our service a little better”.

High season for Formentera's beach rescue service extends from June 15 to September 15. During that period, the service employs 23 lifeguards to hold watch over the island's waters and ensure swimmer safety. Beaches are patrolled May 1 to October 31. September 15-30, there are 15 lifeguards to surveil Formentera's coastline; September 30-October 31, a group of 10 remain at the season's close, as at its start.

Artist Rafel Tur Costa bequeaths work to Formentera

foto cessio rafel tur 2Earlier today, the Formentera Council's Sala d'Actes hosted the presentation of a gift from artist Rafel Tur Cost. The event was attended by administration chief Jaume Ferrer and secretary of culture Susana Labrador, who accepted the gift from the artist's son on the administration's behalf. Also on hand was Espai F's Manolo de Oya, the curator of a recent exhibit by the artist.

The mixed media painting, which first saw the light of day in 1988, was included in this year's La ferida oberta, a show staged by Tur in the exhibition space of the old town hall building, the Ajuntament Vell, from June 26 to July 14.

That stint in the gallery, which marked the retrospective's Formentera début, was coordinated by “cultural collective” Espai F, though additional collaboration came from the local and regional administrations, Fundació Baleària and hometown broadcaster Ràdio Illa.

A native son of Santa Eulària, Rafel Tur Costa was the first abstract painter to come out of the Pityusic Islands, the archipelago in the Balearics comprising Eivissa and Formentera. Tur, one of Eivissa's true greats, ultimately transcended the local art scene to display his work in museums and galleries in Spain and around the globe. He is the brother of the widely known ceramicist Antoni Tur “Gabrielet” and attended Eivissa's Escola d'Arts i Oficis Artístics, though he is largely self-taught.

The piece will be displayed in a public space for all of Formentera to enjoy.

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