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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.

Statement protesting landing relocation adopted at one-off plenary

foto ple extraordinariIn an extraordinary plenary session held today, members of the Formentera Council (CiF) unanimously agreed to launch a new negotiation effort with the Eivissa administration, the Eivissa nautical club and the Balearic port authority (APB) in an attempt to forestall the Formentera landing’s relocation within the Vila port. According to CiF community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona, the session also brought approval for a proposal to “seek legal counsel (either internal or third-party) to properly and successfully defend Formentera’s objection to the landing location change.”

Further, Councillor Cardona reported, “the plenary members will send and make public the Manifest drafted and unanimously adopted by the Consell d’Entitats [Formentera’s council of local community leaders]. In a statement addressed to the Eivissa town hall, the Eivissa Council, Formentera’s representative in the Balearic parliament, all the political parties with seats in parliament, the people’s ombudsman, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the president of Spain, the Consell explains its objection to the Eivissa-Formentera landing move. She thanked all the political parties for their unanimous support of the measure and quoted the Manifest: “IF WE JOIN FORCES, individuals, associations, political groups and the local Formentera government, we can reach our goal: KEEP THE LANDING WHERE IT IS.”

Next week Joan Marí Cardona conference series returns

Presentacio jornades fotoEarlier today the CiF Office of Heritage announced the specifics of the department's upcoming round of conferences titled Joan Marí Cardona Jornades d'Estudis Locals. As explained by department head Susana Labrador, the series, now in its fourth year, “began in 2011 as a way to promote field research on subjects relevant to Formentera's cultural heritage”. The seminars will run from Monday April 11 through Friday 15 and be held at 8.30 pm in the Sala d'Actes of the Formentera Office of Culture.

Conferences

First up, a presentation by Maria Bofill Martínez, PhD candidate at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, concerning her study of lithic and osseous artefacts left by the prehistoric communities of Formentera. A specialist in archaeology, Bofill was awarded the CiF's research grant in 2014.

Next, Javier Rodríguez Pandozi and Sebastià Munar Llabrés present their study of the S'Espardelló remains in Formentera's surrounding waters. On Wednesday, historian and Formentera-native Santiago Colomar will present his research concerning the smaller of the two Pitiüsa islands as a “forgotten frontier”, describing the island's use from 1571 to 1650 as a base for North African pirates, or, as they were once commonly known, “corsairs”. Next day, Dr Olga Cardona Guasch will lead a conference on the use by easement of local roads. Finally, on Friday, Enric Ribes Marí will present an approximative look at local toponymy.

Labrador reported that this year for the first time, Formentera's teacher resource centre (CEP) has opened up participation in the Joan Marí Cardona conference series to local teachers. Attending staff from educational centres will now have the possibility of receiving credit from the Govern Balear's Regional Ministry of Education. CEP head Ariadna Soler pointed to the interest local educational staff have already showed in the series. The morning presentation of the Joan Marí Cardona Jornades d'Estudi was also attended by Jaume Escandell, a staff specialist at the Formentera Office of Heritage.

Officials meet to discuss beach safety

Foto reunio ss platgesAt 2.00 pm today Bartomeu Escandell, councillor of the CiF president's office, together with local lifeguard service chief Javier Asensio and service coordinator Sergi Martín attended a presentation by the emergency services of the Govern Balear concerning beach safety. Presided over by the Govern's director of emergency services Joan Pol Pujol, the presentation was hosted at the Formentera Council and was the eighteenth such gathering to date. The yearly pre-summer gathering aimed at educating staff and department heads on the evolving nature of water safety services was also attended by Vicente Soria, director of 112 emergency services, and Vicent Ferrer, officer of Eivissa emergency services.

The Govern officials spoke about the proper classification of swimming areas and of the requirement that medium- and high-risk beaches have a transmitter system in place. Similar systems must also be used at low-risk beaches with on-duty lifeguards and at beaches where there exist “multiple and conflicting uses” that could pose a threat. It was also reported that such transmitter systems are required at beaches and swimming areas where both watercraft and swimmers are present.

As for the hours of lifeguard services, timetables must be adapted to the area in question, the meteorological conditions at play and use patterns at each beach.

Further, on beaches with lifeguard services, summertime seaside concessionaires must also employ staff trained in lifesaving in the event that lifeguards require additional assistance during normal service hours.

Likewise, if a concession's hours of operation extend beyond the range of normal lifeguard service, staff of the waterfront concession are responsible for providing first-aid to beach users until emergency services arrive.

Among other topics discussed by officials were procedural improvements made regarding communication between the Govern's waterfront planning services and 112 emergency services.

Saturday 'Parasceve' takes stage in Formentera

parasceve 2 copiaThis Saturday at nine pm in the Sala de Cultura (Cinema) the Office of Culture of the Formentera Council will host Blai Bonet's Parasceve, the author's only production written for the stage. Included on the events calendar for the Sant Jordi holiday, the evening of theatre is also part of the programme Illa a Escena.

Playwright

Though poet, storyteller and Mallorca-native Blai Bonet (Santanyí, 1926-1997) is celebrated for the universality of his reach, in his lifetime he would only produce one work of theatre: Parasceve. The play is a portrait of the people, families and whole societies held prisoner by war. Bonet focuses on his characters as individuals rather than political figures to convey the familiar quality of this emotional tale.

Production

Based on the story of the Skiud household, Parasceve stands as a psychological family-portrait in a time of war. Faced with a tale that is so intensely personal, those in the audience are hard-pressed to remain safe sideline spectators. The message, then, becomes timeless and one that is unbounded by time. Before the transversal commonality of war, any other barriers fade into the periphery. Faithfully representing the playwright's original text, the company guides the audience through the cleansing process that must accompany any tragedy. Hence, the theatre and stage are transformed into ritual ground.

The current production of Parasceve is an unmissable opportunity to see Blai Bonet recoup human form. What T-SHOCK manages to convey scenographically with Parasceve is the savageness inherent in the choices we make; a representation of nothing less than devastation itself. Though purely symbolic, the universe created becomes a scene of conflict for truly dark forces.

Brought to the stage by the T-SHOCK company, Parasceve is directed by Jeroni G.Obrador and includes acting by Marta Barceló, Guillem Juaneda (from the film El perfecto desconocido) and David Pérez. Parasceve is involved in Circuit Talent IB, a talent circuit for music and stage productions that is promoted by the IEB and the Balearic Islands Regional Ministry of Culture. Circuit Talent IB is aimed at promoting cultural exchange between Mallorca, Menorca, Eivissa and Formentera. It has already brought to the island Fràgil (from Eivissa group Clownidoscopio) and is behind performances this month from Mallorca theatre group Circ Bové (Es Cirquet) and Menorca singer-songwriter Leonmanso.

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