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Council's culture department gets backing from Fundació Baleària

RP acord Balearia CulturaThis morning in press conference, Susana Labrador, culture councillor of the Formentera Council, gave details regarding the administration's budding partnership with Fundació Baleària — an alliance she said would soon materialise as a collaborative accord that will free up funding for cultural programming. Also present at the event were Fundació Baleària's managing director Ricard Pérez Ivars, Baleària's Pitiüsa delegate Joan Serra and the staff specialist of the Formentera Council office of culture, Verònica Arenas.

Pérez described the Fundació's goal as «creating platforms where culture can be exchanged between people in the different areas Baleària travels». He evoked marketplaces of the past, saying the transport company «wants to create points of cultural exchange». Councillor Labrador spoke of a desire for an increase in the cultural acts coming to the island — and of her hope Formentera's own cultural exports can increase as well. For start of 2016, she said, the CiF office of culture is in the midst of putting together a presentation of children's theatre in addition to the standard programme of stage productions and concerts. But she spoke of the office's work to bring a wider variety of acts – like dance shows – to local audiences.

Business partnerships
The councillor said it was important that business got involved too, asserting local trades could «help bring diverse and quality acts to Formentera, and at the same time promote Formentera's own cultural exports outside the island».

At WTM in London, tourism reps tout Formentera as ideal training site for athletes

triatlo premsaToday was the first day of the World Travel Market, the most important day in tourism promotions on the English calendar. CiF president Jaume Ferrer, tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer and head of the local tourism advisory board (el Patronat de Turisme) Carlos Bernús met before media and travel agency representatives to give an idea of some of the most important sports events slated to take place this season on Formentera. The half marathon, triathlon, the lighthouse-to-house race (de Far a Far) and the Formentera All Round Trail were just a few.

But, said Councillor Ferrer, they explained to WTM attendants that Formentera is more than just a backdrop for sports events: «We underscored the fact that the island is absolutely ideal for athletic training. Fortunately, they don't have to look very far — at our very first Olympic contender, windsurfer Mateo Sanz, or the 32 different green trails offering athletes the chance to get in shape in an unbeatable setting — to see this is the case».

Conversations with members of the press and travel agencies were aimed at getting the word out about several more niche tourism attractions — like the island as a destination for photographers and birdwatchers. «Our idea», said the councillor of tourism, «is try to increase numbers in the pre- and post-season». After the presentation portion of the event, the island's catering college served a gastronomic sampling and wine from the island's own Terramoll vineyard.

Formentera backs «Ibiza y Formentera 100% renovables» documentary

The Formentera Council’s office of environment wishes to congratulate Miguel Ángel Villagrasa and Ulises Petinto for their leadership producing Ibiza y Formentera 100% renovables (Ibiza and Formentera 100% renewable). The documentary is set to be premiered this evening at half past eight in the cultural centre of the Eivissa town of Jesús.

Formentera’s environmental councillor Daisee Aguilera announced the administration’s plan to contribute 800 euros to the project, and said she hoped to see the film projected soon in Formentera’s own cinema.

Council plenary brings approval for 2016 budget

Votacio pressupost 2016 premsaThis morning saw the island’s councillors gather to celebrate the October plenary session of the Formentera Council. Of particular significance on the agenda was a proposal to grant initial approval to the Council’s general 2016 budgets, which, at 22,275,000 euros, are 1.43 percentage points higher than the accounts in 2015.    Bartomeu Escandell, tax office councillor, was on hand to speak to any questions on the subject. He pointed out – underscoring the focus on «quality public services» – the patent continuity between the budgets of years past and the coming year.

Environment and transport
Escandell enumerated some of the different projects envisioned for 2016, paying special attention to the green ones: rezoning and additional environmental protections at l’Estany des Peix, an initiative to regulate anchorage across the island’s coastline. Investment in sustainable transport was a recurring theme,  as the councillor made clear

Sustainable transport, the councillor made clear, is an important part of 2016 investments, as evidenced by the forthcoming draft of a directive on transport and plans to rehabilitate and repurpose local heritage sites.

Local participation
The councillor spoke of the move to give the Consell d’Entitats authority to decide which projects will receive 10% of the CiF investment budget (250,000€). The tax office councillor reminded plenary participants of the drop (from 0.85% to 0.80%) in the local real estate tax on urban buildings. He noted, however, that overall collections are expected to increase, thanks to improved inspection techniques.

Rejection by opposition
For a variety of reasons, the new budget did not receive support from the different opposition parties. Partido Popular spokesman José Manuel Alcaraz declared his party’s intent to submit objections in an attempt to lower tax rates. Socialist councillor Rafael Ramírez explained his party’s objection as «a question of principle», indicating the PSOE’s desire to be included in the consensus process. Compromís amb Formentera spokeswoman Cristina Costa, while declaring «agreement on the general terms of the budget», assured her party would have given priority to different projects. In the end, the budget was passed thanks to “yes” votes from the ruling party and despite the “no” of the opposition.

Seeking funds to purchase Espalmador
Attendants of the plenary voted unanimously to support a joint motion – first launched by the PP – to seek out funding in conjunction with the Palma and Madrid governments to buy the island of s’Espalmador and guarantee its environmental upkeep. Labelling it a subject of general interest, Councillor Escandell stressed the importance of winning the support of all the island’s political parties. He also said he would petition to see that «more controls are put in place to ensure a real, effective protection of the island take place». The three other groups gave their support to this idea.

Unanimity
There were three final measures that saw councillors join together for unanimous approval. First among these was a motion to post the agendas of the CiF president and councillors on the Formentera Council website. The second dealt with the drafting of a collaborative accord to improve the island’s firefighting service. In the third case, the go-ahead was given to commissioning an undersea archeological map of Formentera and surrounding areas. In patrimony councillor Susana Labrador’s words, «locating and describing our underwater archeological heritage sites is the first step toward effectively protecting them».  

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