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Next Sunday marks fourteenth year of Intercultural Day in Sant Ferran

Presentacio festa interculturalThe Formentera Council’s office of social welfare has joined forces with the local group Associació de la Festa Intercultural to put on the fourteenth annual Intercultural Day. This morning, social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada unveiled details in a press conference attended by head organiser Ángeles Martínez Canales and Associació president Manuel Londeiro.

In the words of Councillor Parellada, Sunday April 3rd, Intercultural Day will be the occasion for organizers to “deck out the Sant Ferran schools and celebrate the cultural variety of the countries and autonomous communities represented on Formentera”. Trumpeting Formentera’s claim as the most culturally diverse island in Spain – some 30 per cent of local residents were born abroad – Parellada stressed: “This isn’t just one day; this kind of diversity is an everyday reality on Formentera”.

Gastronomy and popular dance

The president of the organising group, who hailed Formentera as “both culturally diverse and very cosmopolitan”, says the idea behind the day is “to celebrate the cultural diversity we’ve got on the island”. Londeiro says the best way to do that is by “getting a taste of local gastronomy”. Martínez Canales announced the start of the party is slated for one midday, when things will get under way with fun children’s workshops. Kids will have the chance to make bookmarks with their name in Arabic and fancy-dress masks, get painted with henna, decorate mandalas and play games like Twister and musical chairs. There will also be bouncy inflatable castles.

Entry costs €4 and children under 12 get in free. Food samples will start at 2 p.m. and the day’s first folk and music performers are scheduled to take the stage a bit earlier. Participating countries and autonomous communities include Romania, Morocco, Colombia, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Castilla La Mancha, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Equator, Bolivia, Germany, Galicia, Andalusia, Formentera and Valencia. In addition to contracting Martínez Canales part-time for three months to oversee organising duties, the Formentera Council helps pay for the day’s gastronomic samples by contributing €400 per country/community.

Run-off parking

Councillor Parellada reported that parking will be available on the future remodel site of the Sant Ferran schools and along the town’s connector road. Apologising for any inconvenience, the councillor explained that from tomorrow to Sunday the children’s play area at the school will be closed to allow for set-up. She also made the following request: “Please, come with plates and cutlery. We’ll provide biodegradable options for everything else”. Finally, she encouraged the entire island to come out in force on Sunday, ready to have fun.

Help with travel costs for residents studying elsewhere

Vistes a Eivissa FotoEducation councillor Susana Labrador has announced today that for the 2015-2016 school year, the Formentera Council’s office of education will provide €38,000 in grants for students in higher education, training, postsecondary and arts programmes attended off the island. For Formentera residents that study in Eivissa or take part in a distance learning programme, the aid will come in the form of €150 grants, she explained. Students that travel beyond the Pitiüsa islands will receive €450. The councillor also noted the number of travel cost grants issued last year: ninety.  

Terms

Application terms and information about all required documentation can be viewed online at http://www.consellinsulardeformentera.cat/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=351&Itemid=437&lang=ca. The deadline for applications is 25 April. All interested applicants should visit the office of culture, education and patrimony of the Council.

Council logs 15 cases of serious dumping infractions in 2015

Fotos contenidorsThis morning, the Formentera Council office of environment released figures from 2015 showing a spike over the last year in €751-€1,500 fines for dumping. Daisee Aguilera, CiF environment councillor, pointed out that the ramping up of fines reflects a new reality in which disregard for private land and illegal dumping carry repercussions. Aguilera said residents can expect to see more of the same tough enforcement in 2016.

Of the 70 fines issued for illegal dumping in 2015, 15 were for offences classed as 'major' while the remainder were 'minor'. By contrast, in 2014 roughly 60 fines were written, of which, said Aguilera, only two of which were major. Of the 15 major infractions in 2015, seven were for illegal dumping outside a bin and three were for dumping within the Ses Salines national park. Penalties were additionally issued in five cases of dumping that took place on private property. The two major infractions cited in 2014 were both for dumping outside a bin.

More checks

“The Council has stepped up checks on private plots in rural areas to ensure rules on safety, salubrity and public property are respected”. In addition, the councillor took the opportunity to remind residents of the Council's fining scale: €1 to €750 for minor offences, €751 to €1,500 for mid-level offences and €1,501 to €3,000 for major offences. Aguilera urged the people of Formentera to use the new collection station in the Sant Francesc industrial park, “intended for hazardous materials, home appliances and any waste that is too big for streetside bins”. She also reminded residents of the CiF's completely free home pickup service for appliances and furniture, which can be reached by calling 900 102 656.

According to Aguilera, “the island's image depends on everybody”. Asserting that “behaviour like littering directly impacts our local economy and environment”, the councillor underscored the need to protect what she called “the main draw for Formentera's visitors”. Moreover, she pointed to complaints from Formentera locals about the toll dumping has already taken on the island's image. Aguilera also seized on the opportunity to thank the Council's waste collection crews for “minimising the effects of the antisocial behaviour of a small minority”.

Councillor Aguilera underscored the crucial role of Formentera local police, who have ramped up their patrols, in the crackdown. Finally, looking ahead to summer 2016, the environment councillor announced the CiF's plans to roll out an awareness-raising campaign aimed not only at island residents but also merchants, restaurants, holiday rental properties, hotel owners and concessionaires of beachside bars.

New display cases for informational material

Panell informatiu info turisticaCiF tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer has announced the addition to the Council's arsenal, from today, of three new display stands to organise the informational material it offers to tourists and locals. Eager to maintain the look and feel of existing public works projects, the administration has tapped local artist Jordi Peñaranda, who designed the tourist information office in la Savina as well as outdoor signage at the Sant Francesc office.

Two of the display cases will be used by the office of tourism. Of those, one is slated for the Sant Francesc office and the other —the larger of the two— will go to la Savina. According to the councillor, the two specially-designed stands will be the ideal way to greet Formentera's visitors, not only at the point of entry but also at the main nerve centre of the island. The third stand was bought by the CiF's office of agriculture and will be used to disseminate information about the Formentera farmers market and other related activities.

All three of the pieces boast rust finishing and locking wheels. Priced at €870, the XL model (for the la Savina tourism office) measures 1,500 centimetres wide by 1,600 cm tall and 640 cm deep. The other two stands measure 700 cm x 1,600 cm x 640 cm and had a cost of €720. Informational material will be affixed with magnets to ensure the long life and optimal appearance of the cases.

Formentera could become destination spot for Japan's elderly, reports consul

Foto visita consol japoCiF president Jaume Ferrer has met today with Japan's consul general in the Balearics, Catalunya and València, Hiroyuki Makiuchi. Ferrer welcomed the visit, which provided an opportunity for the two men to discuss “Formentera's prospects as a travel destination for the Japanese”. The president referred to “steps we can be taking to open Formentera's doors to Japanese visitors”, particularly, he said, during the island's traditional low season.

For his part, Makiuchi described Formentera as “the ideal island destination for senior Japanese tourists”, who he said would be receptive to proposals of active tourism like walking and cycling. According to Makiuchi, one in four Japanese is elderly and has got the time, money and get-up-and-go to visit “exotic” destinations like Formentera. Eager to make headway on the issue, President Ferrer and Consul Makiuchi said future meetings —as well as organised outings with travel agencies— would soon follow.

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