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New rules for parking at national park

Foto Ismael SerranoEarlier today, the Formentera Council’s office of transport announced a series of changes in the parking rules within the island’s national park. Starting this year, vehicle access to the Illetes area of the park will be regulated 10 May to 30 September. Likewise, residents and tourists that drive to the Es Cavall den Borràs area will also be met with parking attendants. According to department head Rafael González, the changes reflect the fact that the areas in question are largely spared by parking troubles during the low season. Regulated parking will be in place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the low season and until 8 or 9 p.m. in the high season.

This year’s biggest change has been the ban on quads in the park. The move, says González, was meant to prevent “environmental degradation, noise pollution and dust kicked up by passing vehicles”. He called the park “one of Formentera’s most environmentally delicate areas”.

Public toilets

This summer, four split-use toilets will be installed as well. The portable wood-sided units were chosen for their suitability in the surrounding environment, González said. He called the toilets “essential” in terms of hygiene, the environment and general tidiness at the park.

In addition, vehicle access to the park will be regulated for both regular bus lines and those that operate on a discretional basis. Regular service buses will be allowed entry at a rate of one per half hour, all day long and at no cost. Meanwhile, following terms apply for buses that work on a by-request basis: entry will be allowed one per half hour, but at a payment of €0.80, €1 or €1.20 per vehicle per parking spot (low, mid and high season). Access for discretional service buses is totally restricted between 12 noon and 5 p.m. The goal, explained the councillor, was to eliminate unruly crowds that plagued the park at rush-hour.  

Access will be restricted as well for vehicles carrying heavy loads and attempting to enter the park at high-traffic times. Those vehicles will be granted access before 11 a.m. and after 5 or 7 p.m., depending on the time of summer. The move, says González, responds to the fear that entry and exit of large delivery lorries-if uncontrolled-could bring rush-hour traffic at the park to a standstill. The councillor pointed out additional improvements to the park’s vehicle removal service. González described all of the changes as an effort to improve safety and service quality at the Formentera national park.

Formentera celebrates first energy efficiency day

Jornada Eficiencia Energetica premsaThe Formentera Council's offices of environment and transport have organised the first day-long reminder dedicated to promoting energy efficiency—la Jornada d'Eficiència Energètica. Today's event was just one part of the celebrations for the worldwide Energy Efficiency Day, which is set to take place this Saturday, 5 March. Eight stands were set up around the Sant Francesc square (la plaça de la Constitució) for the occasion, providing passersby with information on transport, sustainable building and clean energy.

The idea for a local celebration of the day, said councillor of environment Daisee Aguilera, emerged during the discussion that followed a 15-December screening of Ibiza y Formentera 100% renovables. As Aguilera stated, “at that point it became clear that a large portion of Formentera residents wanted more information and advice about energy efficiency”.

“That's why we've brought together the offices of the administration and different stakeholders associated with energy efficiency. Now that there is no doubt climate change is real, the goal is to reduce greenhouse gases”, said Aguilera.

Four groups—the NGO Amics de la Terra, the nonprofit Som Energia, the Balearic Islands housing institute (IBAVI) and ECOform, a company working in sustainable energy—set up informational stands to raise awareness about specific actions in their respective industries. In addition, IBAVI architect Carlos Oliver led two guided visits—the first from 12 noon to 2 p.m. and another from 4 to 5 p.m.—of the low-cost housing units currently under construction in Sant Ferran. The homes, said Councillor Aguilera, “have set the standard in energy efficiency in the Balearics”.

Sustainable transport

Councillor Rafael González, head of transport, explained his office's chief target as “promoting sustainable transport and electric vehicles on the island”. According to González, such transport supports “the model of tranquility and care for the environment that we want for Formentera”.

González pointed out that Formentera is home to 12 free recharge points with a total capacity of 28 vehicles. Moreover, he noted, the Council offers “tax incentives, like requiring electric car drivers to pay only 25% of the circulation tax”. Among the other perks for those who make the electric leap, the transport councillor touted free parking in la Savina and free entry to the Ses Salines national park.

Three electric vehicle rent-a-car agencies—Ok Cars, Cooltra and Europcar—displayed some of their fleet on the square and the Es Brolls company had electric bikes for sale. For his part, Joan Groizard, director general of energy and climate change of the Govern Balear, attended the event as well. He put it simply: “What we need in the islands is a change in our energy model”.

Formentera streamlines renewal process for metered parking in la Savina

Zona regulada de la Savina foto premsaThe Formentera Council's office of transport has announced a series of changes to the system for requesting or renewing parking passes for metered parking in la Savina. According to department head Rafael González, from tomorrow, 1 March, Formentera residents and businesses will be able to apply online on the OVAC (Citizen Information Office).

As the programme enters its second year, the Council is taking the opportunity to simplify certain parts of the process. “The fastest way to get a parking pass is to apply online”, says González, who also points out that new accounts are activated within 48 hours of applying. This step also allows for individual application data to be stored in the system's database, which is what enables parking pass holders to obtain free parking tickets.

This year residents will notice the disappearance of the decals drivers were required to affix onto their car's windscreen. Authorised green and blue zone parkers need only to enter their licence number into a parking meter and print out a ticket—“exactly as we've been doing till now”, González highlighted. Formentera residents are reimbursed 100% of the ticket cost, so parking in la Savina is still free.

The councillor of transport highlighted other modifications in the regulated parking system, such as the ability to pay a simple monthly fee. By paying €200 per month in summer or €100 per month in winter, drivers can forego the ticket system. New modalities have also been added. A 50% reimbursement for nonresident house or flat owners (and renters staying more than three months) means the monthly fee is cut to €100 in summer and €50 in winter.

Another change requested by la Savina residents has been a reduction of the blue and green zone parking times; they went from 9 a.m. to 12 midnight to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Info concerning the service has recently been updated on www.aferraliaparca.com, where users can have their questions answered and complete their application online. Additional information can be requested at the Formentera Council's office of transport or by visiting the Citizen Information Office, in person, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Address by the vice president on the Diada de les Illes Balears

Discurs Dia Illes 2016Hello, I want to thank all the authorities and residents that have come today for the Council's ceremonial act in celebration of Balearic Islands day.

A celebration which takes place on Formentera, and Eivissa, Menorca and Mallorca as well.

Today is the first of March. An important day for the Balearic Islands. We celebrate this day in commemoration of the first statute of the Balearic Islands' entry into force. That happened 1 March 1983. We also commemorate the entry into force of that statute's revision, 1 March 2007.

That revision was very important for our island. It is what paved the way for the creation of the Formentera Island Council.

So March 1st is an important day for our island and all the Balearic Islands, because it's a celebration that reminds us of the common project we are developing together.

A project that requires our unity.

On Formentera, these first few months of the legislative session, we are showing unity is possible if we've got common goals, if we heed the requests of our people.

A common project on land protection.

The Govern Balear must provide each island, each council, the support they need to carry out their respective models of environmental protection.

A common project on culture, language and education.

Language and education must no longer be hijacked as motives for clashes and division.

We are a community that welcomes newcomers. Some of our most important values are precisely our language and culture. It is vital that we recognise the importance of our past, because our history is what makes our language and culture what they are today. And it is essential that we recognise: these commonalities serve as a basis for our shared future.

A common project built around people.

Each new facility, each infrastructural change, must serve to improve the quality of life of our people. Infrastructural changes and multimillion euro investments do us no good if their main target isn't to improve the daily reality we face as a people.

Formentera, Eivissa, Menorca and Mallorca... Each with its own identity and all of us working toward a common project.

Each of our islands has got a series of different on-the-ground realities which must be respected and made into advantages. However, environmental protection, defence of our local culture and the quality of life of islanders are goals that MUST BE SHARED.

Thank you very much for your attention

Feliç dia de les Illes Balears! Here's to the success of all our work together!

Susana Labrador
Vice president of the Formentera Council

 

Plenary members vote to ban quads in Ses Salines park

Foto ple febrer premsaAttendees of today's plenary meeting of the Formentera Council have agreed unanimously on the initial draft of revisions to Ses Salines parking directive. Transport councillor Rafael González described the changes as “aimed at promoting sustainable transport within the limits of the protected zone” while still “conserving the natural surroundings”.

Among the major tweaks highlighted by the councillor is the regulated control of vehicle access to the park—from 10 May to 30 September for Illetes and 1 June to September for Es Cavall den Borràs—“a change intended to bypass parking difficulties in those areas”, declared the councillor.

Another policy shift trumpeted by González: “Four-by-four vehicles will no longer be allowed access to the park, given concerns about the damage they inflict on the surrounding environment and traffic safety”. Said the head of transport: “We've decided to regulate four-by-four entry into the park because it's the spot on the island where the traffic situation is the prickliest”. He added: “The Council is working with rental agencies so that these [four-by-fours] can be gradually phased out”, saying the vehicles known popularly as quads aren't compatible with the sustainable transport the Council is seeking to promote.

Regulating bus access

Moreover, the Council has moved to regulate bus access to Ses Salines in light of buildup during the most popular travel times. On regular service routes, one bus may enter the park per half-hour and at no additional cost. As for service-by-request routes, the one-bus-per-half-hour quota still applies, but drivers must pay between €0.80 and €1.20 for a parking space (depending on the season). Between 12 noon and 5 p.m., access is forbidden flat out.

As for heavy-load vehicles, typically carrying merchandise to area restaurants, “access will be restricted during the busiest hours of tourist transit”, according to the councillor. Transport vans and lorries will be able to access the area until eleven in the morning and after five—or seven—in the evening, depending on the time of year. Councillor González pointed out that other changes included updating the removal protocol for illegally parked vehicles. He indicated the revisions had generally been welcomed even by opposition members of the Council, which explained their support for the measure.

Parking in la Savina

Plenary attendees also voted unanimously to ratify the accord for a government commission that will oversee payment rebates on parking in la Savina. Explained González, “we've made some adjustments to reduce the administrative workload and streamline the process for Formentera residents requesting or renewing their parking pass”.

Escoleta nursery schools

All representatives at the plenary voted to support a proposed revision of the Council's interior directive on public nursery schools (escoletes) as well as the tax ordinance to finance them. In that regard, education councillor Susana Labrador highlighted increased enrolment at the schools in recent years. “Formentera's nurseries now accommodate 130 children aged zero to three, compared to just 38 in years past”, pointed out Labrador. She said that expansion proves the Council's dedication to providing the much-needed service to local families and, moreover, heralded a greatly-reduced 2015-16 waitlist (it comprised three toddlers) Labrador said was thanks to the opening of the nursery school located at the football pitch”.

Councillor of sport reports on recent action

Jordi Vidal, councillor and head of the office of sport, provided an account of his office's activity over the past year. During the report back, Vidal received positive valuations from all the municipal groups that participated. Among the different actions from this past year he highlighted the creation of Formentera's athletics school, the programme to promote sportsmanlike values, the expansion of opening hours at the fitness centre/swimming pool to include Saturdays and the new funding model for local sports clubs. He also declared: “Formentera is working with other branches of the public administration to create a space to offer nautical sports services”.

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