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Upgrades at playgrounds and parks pulled off thanks to request from local associations' league

Foto elimininacio de barreres arquitectoniquesThe Formentera Council Office of Infrastructure has overseen improvements to courtyards at the four local learning centres —three primary schools and the secondary school— and two children's parks. Plus, accessibility obstacles were removed in every town across the island, part of an effort that, according to infrastructure councillor Rafael González, also entailed creating 16 accessible crosswalks, one wheelchair accessible entrance at a park for young children and two pavement upgrades.

All of the betterment projects were requested by the Consell d'Entitats last May, when Formentera's associations selected what they felt were the two most pressing initiatives from a list of twelve and fast-tracked them for execution before year-end. The two winning proposals —removal of so-called “architectural barriers” and upgrades at playgrounds and children's parks— received 100,000 and 150,000 euros respectively.

Playgrounds and kids' parks
The lion's share of improvement works was undertaken in August and September to ensure completion in time for returning schoolchildren. Playground equipment at La Mola's primary school was fitted with protective rubber and two basketball hoops were also installed on site. Sant Ferran's school got a shaded area and upgrades were made around planter boxes. Another shaded area was installed at Sant Francesc's Mestre Lluís Andreu school, part of works that included more protective rubber and miscellaneous improvements. Marc Ferrer secondary school was equipped with a shaded area and benches. Councillor González added that all of the upgrades had been requested by the schools' administrations.

Work at parks began in October, first at Es Pujols' children's park, with new playground equipment, fencing and benches and revamped protective rubber surfaces. The kids' park in Ses Bardetes got a fresh rubber surface as well, along with three new playground toys, artificial turf, new lighting and a shaded area.

Barriers to accessibility
Accessibility obstacles were removed in every town on the island. A pedestrian crossing was created at the crossroads of carrers Talaiassa and Àngela Ferrer with the new access extending to the nearby school's entrance. Another such crossing was installed across highway PM-820 in Es Caló. In Sant Ferran an additional two such crosswalks were created along carrer Guillem Montgrí.

A pedestrian crossing was added along avinguda 8 d'agost in Sant Francesc. Accessibility improvements were also made in Ses Bardetes. The area of Sa Roqueta got four accessible crosswalks and another two were fitted in nearby Es Pujols at carrer Espalmador and avinguda Miramar, the latter granting access to that town's kid's play area. Four pedestrian crossings were installed in la Savina around plaça Illes Pitiüses. Lastly, pavement improvements are taking place this week along carrer de Ca Marí 5.

This is the first time improvements requested by the local associations' council are overseen by the Formentera Council. The community initiative turns on what is known as “participatory budgets”.

Action plan set in motion for local roads, public car parks

brigada caminsA review of roads and public parking areas, commissioned after heavy storms drenched the island December 18 and 19 and left local roads damaged, will serve as the basis for action by the Formentera Council's Office of Infrastructure. The administration's roads crew is presently carrying out the most urgent of the improvements, with completion projected for the close of January.

According to CiF infrastructure councillor Rafael González, “work will focus on roughly fifteen of the worst-off arterials –among them the road linking Porto-salè and cala Saona, the path to Torrent de s'Alga and public car parks in Sant Francesc– all of which were battered by a combination of immoderate quantity, speed and force of rainfall.”

Nineteen complaints about the state of roads have been received by the Citizen's Information Office (OAC) in the wake of the December downpours. Once the current improvements are complete, said González, “the roads brigade will resume its routine maintenance of Formentera's dirt roads”.

Works project aimed at tower's conservation

torre des triturador 19 10 2016The Formentera Council's Office of Infrastructure has announced that from tomorrow, Friday October 21, the administration will begin overseeing urgently needed conservation work on a local monument known as torre des Trituradors. Salinera Española Ltd, the leaseholder of the tower, will pay for the work. The Formentera Council decided to undertake the work, in the words of patrimony councillor Susana Labrador, “given the tower's serious state of disrepair and its value as a local heritage site”.

In 2012 the Council granted a construction permit to Salinera Española. “However”, explained Councillor Labrador, “the permit was never claimed and the building works never took place, the result of which has been a progressive deterioration of the tower”. For that reason, the Office of Patrimony pursued legal action in 2013 to compel Salinera Española to move forward with the project. The company, for its part, opened administrative litigation that is still today pending judgement.

Improvement works
The project would entail a temporary structural consolidation of the building to prevent its collapse, including correcting the levelling of the structure's perimeter, in five points and above ground level, to keep the tower's upper arches from falling. Cracks have been detected in the arches that not only seriously compromise their stability and the tower's successful conservation, but also pose a public safety threat. The project will have a €41,037.15 price tag and a duration of two months.

In compliance with Formentera's code of subsidiary regulations and the local catalogue of cultural heritage sites, the Office of Patrimony carried out an archaeological and historical study of the monument, a requirement given it forms part of Formentera's historical patrimony.

Legal background
The order issued by the Council, in which the administration sought to force Salinera Española to execute the conservation work, is based on a number of legal precepts, among which are articles 26 and 27 of Law 12/1998 [December 21] on historical patrimony in the Balearic Islands. That law establishes that owners, leaseholders or anyone else in possession of cultural interest sites must conserve and maintain them in a way that safeguards their value. If that fails to occur, the public administration can order the owners, leaseholders or those in possession of the property to carry out the necessary work. If those who are so obliged do not execute the work, the administration can itself oversee the project, in which case the owners, leaseholders or property holders must defray the costs.

History of the tower
Given the architectural and engineering elements it contains, the so-named torre des Trituradors in la Savina is classed as a historical building in Formentera's catalogue of cultural heritage sites, a listing that was adopted in a plenary session of the former Council of Eivissa and Formentera. The exact wording used is “element AI-S-5, fitxa núm. 737” and the site is marked for level A protection. The goal of the tower, built in the mid 20th century, was to improve upon the productivity levels of mechanised salt milling at two other local mills, Molí d'en Marroig and Moli des Carregador. The latter, the older of the two, is currently known as Molí de Sal and was also used to grind salt.

Back to school on Formentera

tornada escola formentera 2016Rafael González, chair of the Formentera Council's Office of Infrastructure, reported today on the maintenance operations carried out this summer at the island's three public schools, framing the work as crucial “to making our kids' return to the classroom as smooth as possible”.

Aided by employees from outside firms, the Council's technical personnel painted the two buildings of Mestre Lluís Andreu primary school —as well as the schools in Sant Ferran de Ses Roques and la Mola— inside and out. Council employees also did regular maintenance, of electrical fixtures, lightbulbs and taps, at all three schools. The price tag on the maintenance work ran roughly 23,500 euros.

Making entry at la Mola school pedestrian-only
Councillor González also referred to another change on the arterial that runs just in front of la Mola's local primary and early-learning school. Vehicle traffic was blocked on a stretch of carrer Angela Ferrer de la Mola “to make getting to and leaving school a little bit safer”. The new pedestrian zone is marked off by four points, two at the entrance and two at the exit. The changes there came with a price tag of 6,500 euros.

Crews break ground Monday at Sant Francesc industrial park

imatge inici obres formentera 6 de setembre 2016Rafael González, chair of the department of infrastructure of the Formentera Council, has announced that Monday September 12 will see the start of construction on the unpaved road that grants access to the rubbish tip (known locally as the Deixalleria) located in Sant Francesc's industrial park.

Besides a freshly resurfaced thoroughfare, the project will bring to the area services like santitation, drinking water, power, street lighting and high-speed internet. The work is scheduled last four months and carries a pricetag of €600,000.

The road, said González, will be closed to traffic during construction, meaning access to the tip will be limited to a single road that links to the site's central entrance. The temporary connector, which is marked with signage, also provides access to the island's vehicle test site, ITV.

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