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Formentera bemoans Madrid's decision to go at it alone, says resulting law «ill-advised»

Reunio Junta Portaveus premsaToday at noon, representatives from local political parties gathered for a one-off, urgent assembly of the Junta de Portaveus, convened yesterday by CiF president Jaume Ferrer, in order to discuss the constitutional court's recent ruling concerning the Ley de Costas (coastline law). Besides President Ferrer, the meeting was attended by CiF head of land management Alejandra Ferrer and the spokespersons or deputy spokespersons of Formentera's municipal parties. Susana Labrador was there to represent Gent per Formentera, Gabriel Mayans represented Partido Popular (PP), Rafael Ramírez spoke for the socialist party and Cristina Costa appeared for Compromís amb Formentera.

At the gathering the secretary general and head of services of the administration, Àngel Navarro, led a detailed review of the exact ruling, which references the unconstitutionality and nullification of sections 1.2 and 4 of the fourth amendment to the law, a part which concerns the coastline divisions on Formentera.  Following the meeting, President Ferrer explained to members of the press, «the goal was to reach a compromise that would allow us to issue a joint declaration on behalf of our different local parties», but said foot-dragging by the PP had made consensus impossible.

The administration, said Ferrer, will accept and obey the court's ruling. He commented, «the strong wording and decisive nature of the sentence demonstrate that the previous work by the legal teams of the central government – which called into question the past divisions – were poorly prepared». Further, President Ferrer bemoaned what he called Madrid's poor form at failing to include the Formentera Council in setting the new coastal delineations. Ferrer concluded: «This is unfortunately the same complaint we have tried without success to convey to the PP for the last four years».

The president lamented a situation in which the hardest hit are the landowners who have fought for years to regain  property lost because it lies in affected coastal areas. He said: «I'm aware of the unfairness of the situation» and pledged the Formentera Council would continue advocating for a return of lost land. Both Ferrer and the ruling party declared their intent to «continue trying to reach a consensus» and shared their hope the PP, «like the socialists, Compromís amb Formentera and Gent per Formentera have already done», will show a willingness to compromise.

Twenty-five percent of waste in Formentera gets recycled

Earlier today, the Formentera Council's department of environment issued a review concerning the levels of waste generated locally so far this year. Since January, explained department head Daisee Aguilera, one in every four pieces of rubbish generated on Formentera has been recycled. She thanked the people of Formentera for their efforts separating waste at home.

“This”, she said, “is the good news. The bad news is there exists an all-too-frequent occurrence: illegal dumping. Residents, instead of taking certain rubbish to the municipal tip, simply leave it next to the street-side bins”. To tackle the problem, the department of the environment has created stickers to be placed on the abandoned rubbish, which, says Aguilera, “signal the need to initiate an investigation aimed at identifying the offending individual”.

Sixty offences
In fact, so far in 2015 sixty offenders have been caught and sanctioned – the same number as in 2014. As established in the local code of conduct, fines start at fifty euros and can go as high as three thousand. For that very reason, Councillor Aguilera took the opportunity of the press conference to “make a special appeal to the people of Formentera to take any special waste to the newly-opened rubbish tip”.

More recycling, more savings
Aguilera also spoke about the costs associated with waste management, emphasising that pretreatment and transfer costs are only applied to non-recyclable rubbish (whereas recycled waste is exempt from those charges). She concluded: “Recycling means a very real reduction of costs for taxpayers”. The councillor also underscored the importance of domestic recycling because “it permits a reuse of old material”.

Raising awareness among youth of the island
Staff specialist of the office, Diego Ojeda, spoke about the figures reflecting waste collection at the local level. He pointed out the island experiences a boom in waste generation in the summertime and that Formenterers generated 2.5% more trash this October than the same month last year. He noted recycling figures had remained more or less unchanged: up 0.90 points to 24.9% from 24%. To get the number even higher, Councillor Aguilera spoke of the need to raise awareness among the island's youth and said Formentera needs “informational campaigns and beach-cleaning outings for schoolchildren”.

Furniture and large waste collection
Ojeda indicated that this year “we have carried out 260 free home pick-ups (scheduled by phoning 900 102 656) of furniture and other large-items”.

He also referred to the opening this May of the island's rubbish tip and said the site —designed for the drop-off of items not fit for disposal in normal bins— has received 4,065 visits this year. He cited more than 600 tonnes of household waste and approximately 5 tonnes of hazardous waste materials have been collected as well. Encouraging a mindful use of the facility, Ojeda reminded Formentera's residents of the site's opening hours: Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Monday through Friday 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Rock piles to be removed from Es Trucadors area

Munt de pedra premsaThe Council’s department of environment has organised a day of work this Saturday, 14th November, to remove piles of rocks around the Es Trucadors zone of the island. The goal, explained department head Daisee Aguilera, is to «raise local awareness about the importance of leaving delicate natural areas like this one untouched» and «attempt to return the area to its original state».

Councillor Aguilera invited all island residents to come out for the day, which will begin with an informational segment at 9:30 a.m. near the Es Ministre restaurant in Ses Illetes. From there, participants will head toward Es Trucadors, where the day’s work will entail «removing the piles of stones and trying to return them to their natural place».

Due to perennial battering by waves and wind, Es Trucadors is an area especially susceptible to erosion. Aguilera noted the uniqueness of the zone's coastline and pointed to its uncommon rock formations and the ease with which they can deteriorate.

The councillor commented that both the marked increase in foot traffic through the area and passers'-by inclination to stack small rocks into sculpture-like forms «are speeding up what are otherwise natural processes of erosion, thus accelerating the disappearance of that part of the island». At the end of the day participants will be treated to a snack, concluded Aguilera.

Formentera asks for labour checks year round

Presentacio Pla de Lluita premsaAt eleven this morning in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council, the Govern Balear's secretary of employment, trade and industry, Iago Negueruela, was joined by CiF president Jaume Ferrer, councillor of land management and tourism Alejandra Ferrer, and director general of occupation and economy, Llorenç Pou, for a presentation of a plan spearheaded by the Palma administration this summer aimed at combating worker exploitation.

Negueruela outlined the plan's repercussions at the local level, which were felt by a total of 148 workers. According to the secretary, «121 workers who previously had temporary employment contracts saw these converted into indefinite arrangements, while another 27 had their workday extended».

The Formentera Council president praised the swiftness of the new regional government in implementing the plan and taking on job insecurity, and noted «the Council has called for just such a plan since 2007, when we took office». He said the plan responds to the demands of business associations like the Pimef and reconfirmed the Council's intent to continue working with the executive branch on the matter. Though Ferrer asserted that the bulk of unqualified professional practise and job insecurity is experienced during the tourist season, «periodic checks in other sectors – like construction – are needed during other parts of the year». The call was well-received by Negueruela, who concurred: «These are checks that need to happen in the winter as well».

Two new programmes
The regional secretary thanked the CiF administration for assisting in the plan's implementation at the local level and announced the roll-out of two additional initiatives: a youth guarantee workshop and another programme, developed specifically for unemployed Formentera residents above 45, «to re-enter the work force with the help of special six-month job contracts». At the end of the morning's press conference, the officials, together with CiF councillor of social welfare and human resources Vanessa Parellada, visited the local job-seekers' office (SOIB).

1715. La fi del regne enmig del mar? opens doors to Formenterencs

expo 1715 premsaThe traveling exhibit 1715. La fi del regne enmig del mar? premiered at the Born Centre Cultural de Barcelona  and is now making its way across the islands. Yesterday, 9 November, local crowds got a first look at the exhibit, on display at the municipal gallery (la sala d'exposicions) of the town council in Sant Francesc. The exhibit’s creators cast a gaze on a war known as the Guerra de Submissió (1705-1715) and, on the occasion of the tricentenary of the event, they set out to represent the perspective of the Balearic and Pitiüsa islands.

1715 shows the participation of residents of the Balearics in a historical event often forgotten or ignored today. The curator, Bartomeu Mestre, readily dusts off different bygone images: the sailors and artillerymen helping defend a besieged Barcelona, or those men depicted in El Regne enmig del Mar, set in the Balearics. The exhibit was created by Born CC de Barcelona with the additional help of the OCB (Orquesta Sinfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya) and the 1715-2015 Tricentenary Civic Committee.

Short texts and some twenty images across twelve panels form the heart and soul of the exhibit. Each panel is headed by two lines of verse written by Guillem d’Efak and culled from El Regne enmig del Mar (Siau qui sou!). It is open to the public Monday through Friday from nine a.m. to two p.m. until 21 November.

Conferences
To mark the occasion, two special talks have been organised. The first will take place Monday 16 November, led by local historian Santiago Colomar under the title Les Pitiüses i la Guerra de Successió: la derrota d’un model politic. The talk will begin at eight p.m. in the gallery of the exhibit.

Then, on Friday 4 December, Mestre, who not only curates the exhibit but also authored the text used therein, will give a visual conference entitled De la presa (1715) a la represa (2015) at eight p.m. in the Marià Villangómez library.

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