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Boned: improvement projects could make pollution, noise thing of past at Formentera power plant

Reunió amb veïns Es Ca Marí premsaEarlier today, Alejandra Ferrer and Daisee Aguilera, Formentera's councillors of land and environment, respectively, held a meeting with Joan Boned, regional minister of land, energy and transport; Joan Groizard, director general of the Balearic office in charge of tackling energy and climate change issues; and different representatives from the Es Ca Marí neighbourhood. At the gathering Minister Boned detailed the different actions planned by the Palma administration to take aim at the perennial buzzing, pollution and emissions that have long plagued the area around the power station.

At present, Palma envisions modifying the site's noise abatement technology, updating the generators used at the plant, installing a system of noise absorption within the plant itself and building a single, eight to ten metre smokestack. The regional minister promised a return visit before summer in order to ensure plans remain on track.

Councillor Aguilera said the Govern's proposed solution, which will be in place by summer 2016, is sufficient until a more definitive fix can be found. Lina Mayans, secretary of the Es Ca Marí neighbours' association, indicated she is pleased with the anticipated measures, while noting the group's greatest cause for concern remains pollution levels in the area.

Anger over cuts in power service

Boned expressed his anger over the service cuts that have hit Formentera since the year began. According to the minister, inclement meteorological events cannot be used as an excuse because the power company should be able to predict them. Boned made assurances his department has already demanded the company provide explanations for the service interruptions and take the necessary steps to avoid their continued occurrence.

Formentera gets €300,000 to promote tourism

conveni formentera 1The president of the Formentera Council, Jaume Ferrer, met today with the Govern Balear's vice-president and councillor of tourism, Biel Barceló, to put his signature on an agreement that will see the Palma administration «covering some of the costs of promoting Formentera tourism». As part of the deal, the Palma administration will provision €300,000 for different initiatives in 2016, explained the president.

According to Ferrer, «our ultimate goal is for authority on tourism promotions to be switched over to the local island councils during this legislative session». He also highlighted that such a change «must come with funding that is both fair and sufficient». Nevertheless, until such a transfer of powers takes place, Ferrer said it will be necessary to establish a mechanism providing an official basis to the current collaboration between the Govern and the CiF. He thanked the executive branch in Palma for the funding and noted such subsidies had been absent among the actions of the last government. The signing took place at 12 noon in the head offices of the regional ministry of tourism in Palma.

Culture takes centre stage in Formentera

PARASCEVEThe Formentera Council office of culture has unveiled its programme of musical and stage productions to be held in the municipal cinema during the first trimester of 2016. As Councillor Susana Labrador, head of the office, explained: «the programme has something for everyone and runs the gamut of styles and forms of artistic expression. Our goal is to put these cultural productions within the reach of Formentera residents, and to put Formentera at centre stage, be it with opera or theatre, children's shows or musicals».

This Saturday, the opera is coming to Formentera

This year, one of the new items on the programme is called Formentera Viu la Òpera. The idea for the project first emerged as one of the many outgrowths of the move to switch to a digital projection system. Viu la Òpera took form as soon as Formentera made the digital leap. «What we wanted was to share a love of this particular art form», Labrador explained, «so we chose a selection of the most representative works in opera and will be projecting them in high definition at the municipal cinema».

At eight p.m. on Saturday 13 February, Aida de Verdi will be leading the charge. Saturday 12 March theatregoers will be treated to Il Barbiere di Siviglia de G. Rossini, a production of the Opéra National de Paris, and on 2 April, Puccini Tosca, a production of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège. Labrador thanked both the Formentera school of music and dance and Josep Tur Ferrer, a grand aficionado, for their support.

Children's shows

Careful not to forget Formentera's younger audiences, organisers have scheduled the space clown duo Pipo y Tiko for 20 February. If one thing is for sure, it's that this fabulous children's production will have audience members singing, dancing and laughing at intergalactic speeds. Adding to the excitement of Balearic Islands Day on Sunday 6 March, Ibiza-based theatre group Clownidoscopio will bring their production Frágil to Formentera audiences. The group describes their most recent family-friendly effort as «a slapstick production with a healthy dose of humour, tenderness and poetry». Then, on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 April, Es Cirquet de Circ Bové will sail up to Formentera shores, ready to dazzle residents of Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and la Mola with a show awash in magic, juggling and experiments.

Theatre

Theatre-lovers get their turn on Saturday 5 March with Peludos y Pelados by Eivissa theatre group Es Cubells. This entertaining stage production is set in 1970s Eivissa and premised on an encounter between a local family of farmers and their new neighbours: a group of hippies. On 9 April, audiences will have the opportunity to see the only locally-written production of the 2016 programme: Blai Bonet's Parasceve. Produced by T-Shock, a theatre company in Mallorca, Parasceve is the fascinating story of a family therapist in time of war. Later that same month, on Saturday 23 and Tuesday 26, Espai Frumentaria brings us their most recent endeavour. Perdius combines dance and theatre with a meticulous mise-en-scène.

Music

Everyone holding out for music will get their chance to rock on Saturday 27 February with the Mallorca-based singer-songwriter Tomeu Penya and opening act Eivissencs Rels. On 19 March, André Cebrián and Pedro Mateo González will give a flute and guitar recital.

Talent IB circuit and Platea

Councillor Labrador also spoke about a talent circuit in the Balearic Islands that, with the help of the IEB and the Govern Balear's regional ministry of culture, is aimed at promoting local music and stage productions across the region. This year, Formentera has signed on to the host the talent circuit, she said, as part of our goal to bring quality cultural programming to our local audiences. Formentera welcomes Clownidoscopio (Eivissa), Circ Bové (Mallorca), T-Shock (Mallorca) and singer-songwriter Leonmanso as participants in the Talent IB circuit.

«We have also decided to extend our participation in Platea, a programme of the ministry of culture aimed at promoting and enriching joint productions and exchanges between stage groups». Platea reimburses travel costs for those companies that come to Formentera. Last year four stage productions came to the island as part of Platea. According to Labrador, the 2016 Platea programme will be announced early next month.

Carnival to be held in the old fitness centre

The CiF office of local holidays has confirmed that Carnival 2016 will take place this Sunday, 14 February, in the old fitness centre (known locally as el Poliesportiu Vell). All those who intend to participate in the procession must visit the sports area of the centre between 11 a.m. and 12 noon. Participants will then gather in front of IES Marc Ferrer secondary school, located on avinguda 8 d'Agost.

The weather forecast for Saturday is not promising, and to avoid having to cancel again, councillor of culture Susana Labrador explained organisers have come up with an alternate plan to ensure the celebration goes off without a hitch. Labrador encouraged the entire island to come out, assuring that «neither snow, rain nor wind will get in the way of this Sunday's festivities».

«Once everyone is ready, we will have people go inside the sports module, where those in fancy dress will show off their costumes and creations – and rock out to the rhythms provided by Allsex – before the watchful eyes of the jury», said Labrador. When fancy dress flouting has finished, it will be DJ Pharma's turn to get the whole crowd dancing. At 2 p.m. the parents' association of C.P Mestre Lluís Andreu will host their community lunch, where, Labrador reminded, «all in fancy dress eat free». The awards ceremony will be the final act of the day, concluding a party Labrador called «a thrill to organise». The councillor closed by encouraging parade-goers to come out strong, and promised the celebration will get everyone feeling festive ... no matter the weather.

Council doubles efforts to keep red palm weevil numbers under control

RP dades becut vermell

The Formentera Council office of rural affairs shared today its data on the spread of the red palm weevil on Formentera. Department head Bartomeu Escandell highlighted the different strategies the administration has employed to prevent further spread of the insect. He also called for help from Formentera residents and asked anyone with a potentially infested palm tree to contact the CiF office of rural affairs, which offers help controlling the pests.

Escandell outlined the Council's plans – with assistance from the Govern Balear – to spend €42,000 in 2016 on pest control strategies for the weevil. That figure represents a €7,000 increase in the same funding in 2015. This year, efforts will begin in early March and continue to year-end – an extension of last year's campaign, which ran from July to December. As Escandell pointed out, «the change was based on the increase in the number of affected palm trees registered since 2014. That year the number was 98 and last year it rose to 178».

Juan Argente, project coordinator and specialist at Tragsa, explained the goal of this year's efforts are to carry on where work left off in 2015. «The strategy involves fieldwork to establish our working area and track which trees are affected, then close monitoring of the pest control work done by the professionals», said Argente, who indicated another component will include keeping a network of traps to oversee captures of large swathes of the weevil population.

Pickup and disposal at no cost for private homes

As a way to help private homes meet the cost of controlling the pests, Escandell explained the Council will be allocating more than 40% of the project's budget to the pickup and treatment of organic matter generated in the process. Another part of the current push is to target new cases introduced through garden centres here on the island, not to mention a campaign to raise local awareness. Training courses designed for local professionals will be given the first two weekends of March.

A total of 3,000 palm trees have been inspected since the first case of a weevil-affected tree was detected in 2011. Since that time, 280 affected trees have been treated. Argente noted that for pruning to be an effective preventive measure it must be done in December or January.

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