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Areas Social action Culture and Historical Heritage

First step towards reshaping rules that define Formentera's historical zones

primera votacio nova sala de plensThe Formentera Council's first plenary session of 2017 was also the occasion to christen a new plenary hall, the conference room of the Formentera Day Centre. CiF president Jaume Ferrer explained 2017's particular significance for the Council, which turns ten this year on July 10.

The meeting brought preliminary approval for a plan to reshape the island's so-called “subsidiary rules”, regulations that govern how historical areas of Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and el Pilar de la Mola are mapped out. According to land councillor Alejandra Ferrer, the move came in response to a court ruling that there lacked sufficient justification for the original delimitation.

The councillor described how, until now, “one single document has defined which sites are included in the island's catalogue of historic sites. The present change will involve more extensive and specific documentation and include features both inside and outside the historic zones, as well as features that require protection and those that do not.”

The councillor cited the absence of changes —beyond the increasingly lengthy explanations to be included henceforth— to the regulations in Sant Francesc and la Mola. “Sant Ferran's code was amended to reapply previous building restrictions to Ca Ses Castellones,” a requirement which Councillor Ferrer noted was set out in a court ruling.

With “yes” votes from the entire house minus Popular Party (PP) abstention, the session gave the first green light needed for the rule change to take place. Today begins a one-month period during which comments about the plan can be submitted. If definitive ratification occurs, it will lift the partial reversal of the subsidiary norms' effect on historical zones. That reversal currently blocks the way of projects like the Sant Ferran school remodel and construction.

'Sun tax'
Members of the plenary also gave unanimous agreement to a proposal to exempt Formentera and Eivissa residents from a tax on personal power use devised to promote solar power in the islands. Plenary attendants voted to ask Madrid to exclude Formentera and Eivissa from a list of territories where the renewable energy tax is applied. Instead, they appeal to the national administration to use incentives and tax breaks on such energy.

Report
Culture, education and heritage councillor Susana Labrador appeared before the house to report on the efforts of her departments. Their aim, said Labrador, “is to promote and head up projects that improve the role played by culture, heritage and education on our island.” The councillor said such projects are framed by standards set out by working groups of the Govern Balear.

Reviewing her departments' 2016 initiatives, Labrador highlighted the Sant Ferran primary and nursery schools and their priority position on the education office's agenda. She pointed to “tremendous cooperation between our land and heritage offices and the Council's legal teams” in explaining the initial approval of the updated subsidiary norms, saying the changes would provide necessary education equipment to Formentera's zero to twelve year olds.

Along those lines, Labrador made assurances that coordination between the technical crews of the Council and Ibisec would continue in 2017, and cited such cooperation as she held up the department's draft project for definitive completion of the new schools.

Councillor Labrador spoke about the administration's efforts to invest in education for zero to three year olds (“crucial if we are to support parents juggling work and raising children”) as well as upkeep at schools and various other educational initiatives.

On culture, Labrador underscored the long list of activities on which the Council oversees total or partial coordination. As for infrastructure, she assured that in 2017 Formentera would see a remodel of la Mola's lighthouse and other upgrades elsewhere on the island. Finally, the councillor reviewed the recent actions of the island's heritage office and language advisory service. 

Municipal music school holds first traditional sing-along

Assaig cantada pagesaThe Formentera Council Office of Culture has announced plans for an activity being billed as Cantada Pagesa. The first of its kind, the “country-style sing-along” is a free-to-attend event taking place next Saturday, January 28 at 8.30pm in the municipal cinema.

The maiden recital will feature students currently enrolled in a traditional music workshop led by Xumeu Joan, teacher and musician, together with other volunteers eager to take part. The initiative is part of a broader policy at the school of protecting and promoting Formentera's traditional musical traditions.

The municipal music school —Escola Municipal de Música— serves some 350 students and provides elementary and professional music and dance instruction that is officially accredited. Certificates can be obtained on completion of the school's beginners courses in concert flute, guitar and piano.

As an authorised centre for music and dance learning, the school can offer instruction that is “regulated”, or officially-recognised,and non-regulated. Their catalogue, ranging from beginners' music courses for students aged six- and seven-year-olds and traditional music workshops to professional-grade studies, serves a diverse student body.

Given the open nature of the school, the learning opportunities there expand and change constantly based on demand and the centre's organisational possibilities.

More information is available at http://escolamusica.conselldeformentera.cat/ and the school's activities programme can be found on agendaformentera.cat at the following link http://agendaformentera.cat/evento.php?id_evento=415&id_eventosesion=3414&titulo=i-cantada-pagesa.

Three Kings of the East fill island of Formentera with magic

reis mags 2017 formentera 68At just past 5.00pm today, the Three Wise Men of the East pulled up to the port of la Savina. The Kings, with an entourage that included pages, a royal committee, Formentera Council vice-president and cultural councillor Susana Labrador and infrastructure and transport councillor Rafael González, were met by crowds of anxious children that had come to greet them at the port. Afterwards the Three Kings mounted their decorated carriages and set off on a tour of the island's main towns.

On the heels of their stop in la Savina the cavalcade headed up the highway, arriving in Sant Francesc shortly after 6.00pm. The party made its way into town via carrer Jaume I, towards plaça de la Constitució. Once there, their Majesties stopped in at the Sant Francesc Xavier church. Afterwards, they made an appearance on the balcony of the Formentera Council, where they were welcomed by a cabal of administration officials headed up by Vice-president Labrador. In a speech before the crowds gathered below, Labrador called on all of Formentera to “remain united as we tackle the challenges that this year may hold”.

At approximately 7.00pm the Kings will once again take up the reins and head down the highway towards Sant Ferran, where, besides the waiting throngs of children and adults, they are awaited by CiF land and tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer and Councillor González. The royal committee will then enter the church to revere the baby Jesus. All those hoping to meet the Magi can do so in the festival tent which occupies the church plaza, where boys and girls from Sant Ferran will also be able to pick up gifts.

Nearing 8.30pm, again by way of the main highway, the cavalcade will continue in the direction of la Mola. There, they will descend the central arterial towards el Pilar church, where gifts will be distributed to the eagerly awaiting children of that town. Co-vice-president and tax office councillor Bartomeu Escandell will also join them throughout the remainder of the evening's festivities.

Kids in Sant Francesc must wait until tomorrow to receive their gifts from the Wise Men. That ceremony will take place at the town's religious school –“Ca ses Monjes”– on the heels of the Epiphany mass scheduled for 11.00am at the Sant Francesc Xavier church.

Accompanying entertainment
The members of the royal party aren't the only ones touring Formentera. This year, while young and old awaited the Three Kings and company, a percussion group staged live shows thirty minutes before the cavalcade's appearances in la Savina, Sant Francesc and Sant Ferran. With more than six years of history, Taxek is known for performances which showcase Afro-Latin beats, choreography and a brand of entertainment that has earned the group numerous awards and accolades.

Once again, the Three Kings have embarked on an epic journey to bring joy and magic to our streets and gifts to our people. The Formentera Council wishes to thank everyone who has made the cavalcade's 2017 stopover possible: volunteers, the Formentera Three Kings' association, the island's youth centre, Quintanilla and Formentera carpenter's shops, Trasmapi, Fundació Baleària, Pitiüsa Sud, Frutos Secos Ibiza, Carbónicas Tur and the staff of our local council.

Three Kings to tour Formentera towns Thursday

foto reis 2016The Formentera Council Office of Local Holidays has announced that their Majesties the Three Kings of the East will arrive by boat, as every year, in the port of la Savina at 5.00pm, Thursday, January 5. Joined by pages and the rest of the royal entourage and riding in decorated floats, the Magi will then lead a tour across the towns of the island.

After the stop in la Savina, the cavalcade will continue its circuit up the highway in time for an estimated 6.00pm arrival in Sant Francesc. The party will make its way into town via carrer Jaume I, towards plaça de la Constitució. Once there, their Majesties will stop in at the Sant Francesc Xavier church. Afterwards, they will make an appearance on the balcony of the Formentera Council, greeting the town from their perch and taking part in the administration's official reception of the travelling entourage.

At approximately 7.00pm, the Kings will once again take up the reins and head down the highway towards Sant Ferran. Once in town, the committee will climb carrer Sant Jaume to the town square and enter the church to revere the baby Jesus. All those hoping to meet the Magi can do so in the festival tent which occupies the church plaza, where boys and girls from Sant Ferran will also be able to pick up gifts.

Nearing 8.30pm, again by way of the main highway, the cavalcade will continue in the direction of la Mola. There, they will descend the central arterial towards el Pilar church, where gifts will be distributed to the eagerly awaiting children of that town.

Kids in Sant Francesc must wait until Friday, January 6, to receive their gifts from the Wise Men. That ceremony will take place at the town's religious school –“Ca ses Monjes”– on the heels of the Epiphany mass scheduled for 11.00am at the Sant Francesc Xavier church.

Accompanying entertainment
The members of the royal party won't be the only ones touring Formentera. This year, while young and old await the Three Kings and company, a percussion group will stage live shows thirty minutes before the cavalcade's appearances in la Savina, Sant Francesc and Sant Ferran. With more than six years of history, Taxek is known for performances which showcase Afro-Latin beats, choreography and a brand of entertainment that has earned the group numerous awards and accolades.

Once again, the Three Kings are about to embark on an epic journey to bring joy and magic to our streets and gifts to our people. The Formentera Council wishes to thank everyone who has made the cavalcade's 2017 stopover possible: volunteers, the Formentera Three Kings' association, the island's youth centre, Quintanilla and Formentera carpenter's shops, Trasmapi, Fundació Baleària, Pitiüsa Sud, Frutos Secos Ibiza, Carbónicas Tur and the staff of our local council.

2017 calendar has Formentera casting gaze at prehistory

foto calendari 2017The Formentera Council's office of language services has released its 2017 calendar, centred on the island's prehistoric past. Two-thousand copies will be made freely available at the Citizens' Information Office (OAC), offices of Formentera Local Police, the Office of Social Welfare and the Formentera hospital. Each month comes marked by a photo and a brief, prehistorically-themed text, an aspect of the initiative which received contribution from doctors of archaeology Pau Sureda and Mira Bofill.

Last year's edition brought together 12 varieties of figs. Published annually since 2011 in an effort to disseminate Formentera's history and popular culture, the calendars also serve another function: to promote the use of certain words. Past editions, listed here in chronological order, have had the following themes: Formentera Trivia (a special edition in question and answer format), Chronology of the 20th Century, local poet Marià Villangómez, Tools of the Countryside, Fishing Tackle, Figs and now Prehistory. This year's calendar cost roughly four thousand euros to publish.

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