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Vice-president Biel Barceló makes first official visit to Formentera

trobadabarceloAt midday today, vice-president of the Govern Balear and regional councillor on affairs of innovation, research and tourism, Biel Barceló, was received by Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and local councillors Bartomeu Escandell of the presidential cabinet, the tax office and rural affairs; Alejandra Ferrer of territory and tourism and Rafael González of infrastructure and transport.

Accompanied by director general of tourism Pilar Carbonell, Barceló arrived on his first official visit to Formentera and underscored “the commitment of the newly elected Govern Balear administration to working jointly with the different island councils of the region on those issues that effect them directly”. For his part, the president of the Consell Insular de Formentera expressed his pleasure meeting with a new administration that according to President Ferrer “has already demonstrated a different approach to that of its predecessor...they are clearly interested in making progress with all the issues on the table”.

Tourism

The transfer of authorities in the promotion of tourism was the central issue at the gathering. Jaume Ferrer indicated “the transfer will be necessary if Formentera is to develop its own brand name”. On that matter, Vice-president Barceló committed to working with the Formentera Council to ensure the change be backed by sufficient funding, while noting “we can't change the resources we've got at our disposal”.

On the subject of emerging technologies, the Govern vice-president demonstrated his willingness to “chip away at the inequalities that have affected Formentera since day one” and asserted, “there are things that the Formentera Council can be doing right now to make headway”.

Torre des Pi des Català welcomes first Thursday-afternoon visits

torrevisitableStarting this Thursday, 30 July, la torre des Pi des Català (es Pi des Català tower) will open every Thursday afternoon for public visits, from five to seven in the evening. “The visiting hours,” explained councillor of patrimony Susana Labrador, “are a way for both locals and tourists to discover this aspect of Formentera's past”—a discovery in which the administration hopes school children will also take part. According to Labrador: “School groups will also be able to visit the defence tower by requesting an appointment in advance via the Formentera Council's office of patrimony”.

In May the Council signalled the completion of restoration work at la torre des Pi des Català, which sits alongside Migjorn beach and is part of the 'es Pi des Català' neighbourhood of Formentera. Work at the site ran a total cost of €170,603, which was met in part by funding from the regional programme Leader.

First defence tower with interior open to public

With restoration complete, the tower became the first of its kind on Formentera whose inner chambers could be visited. Supporters of the project hailed the decision to leave intact the original structure—which dates back to the second half of the eighteenth century—along with the architectural features employed at the time of building.

La torre des Pi des Català is a monument declared bé d'interès cultural (BIC)—cultural heritage site—and included in Formentera's catalogue of cultural patrimony as a site with level A protection. In May 2012 and at no cost, the state ceded the land upon which the tower sits to the Formentera Council, in compliance with the law on patrimony and municipalities ('ley del patrimonio de las administraciones públicas').

History

One of the four main defence towers found on the island of Formentera, es Pi des Català defence tower was, along with the three other towers, erected between 1762 and 1763 in strategic locations determined by Francisco de Paula Bucarelli y Ursúa, the then general captain of the Balearic Islands. The project was carried out under the guidance of military engineer José García Martínez. The constructions were used both for defence and –as was most often the case– surveillance until 1867.

Gilbert Herreyns' El bosc i la Mola exhibition

expoherreynsYesterday the doors of the old town hall exhibition space opened on Gilbert Herreyns' exposition El bosc i la Mola ('The forest and la Mola'). The culling of work by the Belgian artist and longtime Formentera habitué is made up of driftwood engravings, tableaux adorned with pigments and pine needles and sculptures of savina juniper branches. All of the materials are found by the artist on our island.

The exposition is part of a larger selection of Herreyns' work displayed at the Museu d'Art Contemporani d'Eivissa between April and July, and prompted his confession: “I couldn't help but give a special place to these Formentera-born creations”. The CiF councillor of culture, Susana Labrador, underscored the immense quality of the art Herreyns produces. El bosc i la Mola falls within the on-going programme of Sant Jaume festivities and can be visited Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. until 31 July.

Sant Jaume fireworks shelved due to fire risk

focs stjaumeEarlier today Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer announced the fireworks that were to mark the festes de Sant Jaume “are being cancelled for the inevitable risk of wildfire”. President Ferrer indicated the decision was partially motivated by “the complex logistical factors and prohibitive cost of mobilising the emergency services necessary to reduce the inherent risks”.

Ferrer noted Formentera's current state of wildfire risk—“extremely high”—, which over the last week had translated into a handful of wildfires where injury or disaster had been avoided “thanks to a combination luck, the professionalism of CiF and Ibanat firefighters and local willingness to collaborate”.

That good fortune hasn''t released “our administration and residents from doing everything possible to avoid potentially tragic situations”. The president of the Formentera Council apologised to “all those moved by the exciting, emotional event” and expressed his hope that the tradition resume “as soon as conditions permitted”.

The fireworks display was scheduled to take place 25 July at midnight, in between the musical performances of Mishima and Ariel Rot.

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