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Council of Entities rejects proposal to create "unloading spot", pledges perseverance

Consell entitats premsa EDIT 350x251The Council of Entities (Consell d'Entitats) met yesterday at 8 p.m. to discuss the proposal by the Balearic port authority (APB) to create an “unloading spot” for boats arriving in Eivissa from Formentera. Under the APB plan, Formentera boats would make an initial stop at an area of the port called el Martell before finally mooring at the commercial-use dock, the proposed site of the new Formentera port in Eivissa. Local group leaders present at last night's meeting likened the plan to a “bait-and-switch” because transport companies would be under no obligation to respect the el Martell stop. They also pointed out, among other disadvantages, that the unloading stop would lack necessary services and asserted that to accept the APB proposal would be tantamount to accepting an definitive move to the commercial dock.

Speaking after the meeting, CiF councillor of community involvement Sònia Cardona emphasised the unanimity of the Council of Entities' decision. She also announced the creation of a working group “to draft a document compiling the reasons the people of Formentera have rejected relocating the station and of an unloading spot”. In addition, the working group will create an action plan concerning the steps to be taken in Formentera. Councillor Cardona seized the opportunity to praise the people of Formentera on a process that ensures local involvement and gives a voice to residents.

Junta de Portaveus to consult local community leaders on port site

Junta portaveus 7 de març 2016The Formentera Council (CiF) Junta de Portaveus, a committee formed by spokespeople from each political party with Council representation, and Jaume Ferrer, president of the CiF, held a meeting to discuss the Balearic port authority (APB) and Ajuntament d'Eivissa-backed proposal to site the Formentera ferry station in the port of Vila.

The president described to Junta members the proposal transmitted to him by APB president Joan Gual de Torrella last Friday, which includes building “a stop in the northern tip of el Martell in the Eivissa port, where passengers will disembark”. The proposal then has boats continuing on to the commercial dock area of the port to dock.

President Ferrer conveyed the administration's doubts about the plan, which he noted provides for a passenger disembarkation in el Martell for Eivissa-bound boats from Formentera, but not the other way around. “One of the points that needs discussing is allowing passenger boarding to occur in that same area”, said Ferrer. He reminded Junta members that the current port authority plan lacks any such provision. The Junta has agreed to “wait for the meeting of the Council of Entities, this evening at half past seven”. Describing the goal for the gathering, the CiF president said attendees would “debate the issue with an eye to settling on a decision”.

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.

Beni Trutmann photo competition gets younger

RP Susana LabradorThe Formentera Council's office of culture unveiled today the programme for the 14th year of the Beni Trutmann photography competition. Councillor of culture Susana Labrador spoke about the competition's impressive run and growing base of eager participants, “who contribute photos on everything from political issues to landscapes and traditions”.

The competition had its start soliciting photos that celebrated Formentera nature in all its forms—from flora and fauna, to landscapes and human interaction with nature. The idea was to foment a commitment to nature and active concern for the environment. The initiative itself emerged as a way to render homage to Beni Trutmann, a photographer whose importance for the island remains patent today. Councillor Labrador described the photographer's legacy to the island — “an archive of more than thirty thousand photos that demonstrates Trutmann's love for the natural beauty of Formentera”.

New category

Today Labrador announced a change in the 2016 run of the competition: “the smartphone shot category”. According to the councillor, the module was devised for youth aged 12 to 18, who are invited to send a maximum of three phone shots to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Labrador pointed out that the Polaroid company has contributed by donating photo supplies to be included among this year's prizes.

In the Black & White and Colour categories, participants have the possibility of submitting three photos in either digital or analogue. The formats permitted are square, digital, classic and panorama and participants will be considered for first, second and third place for their chosen category, with cash prizes set at 500, 300 and 200 euros respectively. The submission deadline for all the categories is 8 April.

The competition jury will be composed of a representative of the Balearic ornithological association and Defensa de la Naturalesa de Formentera, a representative of Obra Cultural Balear de Formentera, three individuals of recognised experience in visual arts, a president and a secretary.

Winning shots will be entered in the island's image and sound archive (l'Arxiu d'Imatge i So) and remain as property of the Formentera Council, who can use them —without drawing a profit— in any graphical project it deems appropriate: posters, signs, on the internet, etc.

With the annual contest, the Council hopes not only to keep Trutmann's memory alive, but also to create a way for budding photographers to get a taste of the work and example left behind by one of Formentera's most celebrated greats.

Breaking boundaries

Pointing to rocketing participation in recent years, Labrador noted the “the Beni Trutmann photo competition has consolidated its importance on our island”. In almost 15 years, the yearly event has racked up a considerable photo archive for the local administration. A count from just the last five years stands at approximately 1,000 photos and more than 300 participants.

The competition's growth has been laid bare by an eclectic participant base which, far from limited to Spanish cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Lugo and Zaragoza, extends into the rest of Europe.

The competition will culminate Monday 25 April in an exhibition of 50 prints in the municipal gallery (la Sala d'Exposicions) of the old town hall. The opening night of the exhibition will serve to name this year's winners, and the display will remain open to the public through 7 May. Details of the competition were published in the 5 March 2016 issue of the Balearic Islands gazette (BOIB) and can be viewed on the Formentera Council website, www.consellinsulardeformentera.cat.

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”.

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