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Thousands of invasive caterpillar nests removed

Foto lluita processionaria premsaEarlier today the Office of Environment of the Formentera Council reported on the progress to date of efforts to control the spread of the processionary pine caterpillar, an invasive pest which has particularly affected the area of Es Cap de Barbaria. According to CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, “approximately 12,000 caterpillar nests were removed in autumn and winter 2015-2016.” Aguilera lauded the efforts of outside workers contracted by the Council, volunteers and IBANAT staff, calling them an “instrumental part” of the response.

As Aguilera pointed out, of 12,000 nests removed, more than 4,000 were empty, 6,000 were full and 1,900 were destroyed by rifle shots. For normal nest removal the Council relied on two outside specialists, Govern Balear-employed staff of IBANAT and local volunteers and property owners. According to the councillor, the administration had the additional help of hunters in the Es Cap de Barbaria area, who were tasked with shooting down out of reach nests.

The goal behind the efforts is to stem the spread of the caterpillar in those areas where infestation is most pronounced. Officials have determined the hardest-hit area to be the former agritourism site in Es Cap de Barbaria, in the north northwest part of the island. Nevertheless, a recent study by the environmental office indicates the pest has turned up in places from la Mola to the Ses Salines national park.

The councillor said warm winter temperatures were the primary cause for the caterpillar’s continued spread. What is more, she announced that in the future the Council’s response would include more workers and an expanded area of focus. According to Aguilera, the Council will soon tap the appropriate arms of the Palma government to request a plan of action.

New sponsors jump on board for Formentera half marathon

Foto acord caixa bankThe Formentera Council has clinched an agreement with CaixaBank for sponsorship of the Mitja Marató, the island's half marathon. The Balearic director of CaixaBank, Xicu Costa, announced the terms of the agreement today after a morning meeting in the CiF plenary hall with CiF president Jaume Ferrer, sports councillor Jordi Vidal, director of the Sant Francesc Xavier branch of CaixaBank, Pep Marí, and race organiser Manuel Hernández.

Council president Ferrer thanked the bank officials and assured their help was “very important”. Ferrer also expressed his hope that the agreement be renewed in the years to come, adding: “What we want is for this race to continue in the long term.” Costa highlighted CaixaBank's commitment to promoting sport and called the bank's €35,000 sponsorship its biggest in the entire Balearic community. Costa too echoed hopes that the fledgling partnership continue in the future.

La Mitja Marató de Formentera will take place Saturday May 14. One thousand seven-hundred runners have already registered for the 21km circuit and 900 have signed up for the shorter, 8km race.

Formentera Fotogràfica, a must for photo-lovers

TORRENS FORMENTERA FOTOGRAFICA copiaThe Formentera Council Office of Tourism has issued details about the Formentera Fotogràfica festival. In a presentation this morning on the upcoming fourth year of the festival, tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer announced: “Renowned photographers from the national and international stages will once again take part in Formentera Fotogràfica, placing our island in the line of sight of anyone involved in the world of photography”. What is more, the councillor said the festival would be included in Formentera's calendar of off-season events.

Festival organiser Francesc Fàbregas called on fans of photography, multimedia and videos to participate in the event. “Come out and enjoy magical Formentera,” he said, “and share your experiences with a wide range of photo industry professionals”. Registration for Formentera Fotogràfica costs 250 euros and can be done at formenterafotografica.com. The festival runs April 28 to May 1.

“Formentera Fotogràfica is an eclectic event that encompasses numerous specialty areas. Over four days, conferences, workshops, hands-on activities, screenings and low-key gatherings will serve as an opportunity for professionals and participants to meet and share their experiences,” added Fàbregas.

Invitation to Formentera residents

One of the goals of Formentera Fotogràfica organisers is also to grab the attention of Formentera residents. With island locals in mind, this year's festival will include an open-house screening of a documentary by Tony Catany, Thursday April 28 at 10.00 pm. In addition, Sunday May 1 at 12 noon, residents are invited to attend a free screening of a documentary by Joana Biarnès and Silvia Omedes.

Central to Formentera's future: uniqueness, resident services

foto debat de lestat de formenteraEarlier today, the Formentera Island Council (CiF) convened a plenary session that featured the first all-party political debate on the state of the island. CiF guidelines stipulate that a similar debate take place once a year before the end of the first quarter. The first presentation duties fell to CiF president Jaume Ferrer, who gave an overview of local conditions and recent Council initiatives as well as a description of the main lines guiding Formentera Council policy, which he called «a preservation model for an island that is unique».

In his speech the president underscored the growing momentum of the Consell d'Entitats, a group of community representatives founded to promote debate on local issues, in addition to surging levels of local involvement around subjects such as regulated parking in the la Savina port and the planned Formentera landing relocation in the Eivissa port. Opposition to the proposed move has already been the centrepiece of several Consell meetings. In addition, President Ferrer pointed to consensus early on in the legislative session around a 14-point list of priority projects agreed on by all of Formentera's political parties. He also highlighted planned funding in 2016 for participatory budget items.

What is more, Ferrer spoke about the recent court ruling that overturned a significant portion of the so-called Coastal Law (la llei de Costes) as it referred to the specific case of Formentera. He bemoaned Partido Popular (PP) representatives' decision to break with consensus on such a key issue and asked that it not happen again. Speaking on the subject, Ferrer declared: «We want properties returned to their rightful owners, but not at the expense of coastal protections».

Consensus fighting landing move

Pointing to the broad consensus on Formentera to leave the location of the Eivissa-Formentera landing unchanged, the president asked Partido Socialista representatives at the plenary to try to «win the support of the socialist party and of [socialist] Govern president Francina Armengol» on the issue. He also urged the conservative party's reps to do the same, arguing that «with backing from the PP, the chances of having our voice heard increase». «We hope you'll do all you can,» he added, «and you can be sure we will too».

President Ferrer also spoke about a team of inspectors that will take to Formentera streets next month. The six-person team, formed of two CiF staff members and four workers with six-month contracts, will be tasked with «educating the public about municipal regulations and preventing infractions». «Staying unique means making sure rules are respected,» he added.

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