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Formentera's programme to stand with Syrians

foto premsa formentera amb siria autor foto patxi galanTogether with the NGO Progreso y Desarrollo Humano (“Progress and Human Development”) and backed by the administration's departments of culture and social welfare, the Formentera Council will host a bill of events and activities in solidarity with Syrian refugees. Formentera amb Síria (“Formentera with Syria”) is a programme of documentary and film screenings, theatrical performances, classroom discussions and exhibitions which, starting February 5 and spanning two weeks, focus on the situation of refugees.

In the spotlight
Saturday February 18 at 2.00pm the keynote event —a community paella— will be held in a festival tent pitched at the Sa Senieta parking lot. The municipal music school's troupe of clarinetists will perform at 5.00pm, followed by a dance production headed up by the local dance school's Nieves Portas. After that, Lunares, Voice & Senses and La 22 will hold down entertainment duties until 11.00pm, when a “discomobile” will carry the crowd through to the 1.00am end time.

Film screenings
The cinema offer gets under way Sunday February 5 with a screening of the short 53 Moons and a talk with the film's director. The same day, at 6.00pm in la Mola's Casa del Poble, a presentation of the Mòbil Kitchen project will take place with a round-table discussion.

On Monday February 6 at 7.00pm, Aleix Oriol Vergés will unveil a collection of his own photos on the Syrian exodus and then stick around for a related discussion. Under the heading “struggle for survival”, the display is financed by Fons pitiús de cooperació and can be visited February 6-17 in the gallery of the old town hall (Ajuntament Vell).

Recycling workshops
Wednesday February 8 at 5.30pm in Casa del Poble, Thursday at the same time in the Sant Ferran library and Friday at 6.30pm in the Sant Francesc library recycling workshops will be held.

Soap workshop
After an initial opening Saturday February 10 from 11.00am in Centre Tur Gabrielet, the Formentera amb Síria market will remain open February 13-17. Also Feburary 10, at 5.00pm, Ana Negre will lead a workshop on creating Aleppo soap.

Standing together in cinema and theatre
Friday February 17 at 9.00pm in the cinema (Sala de Cultura), a screening of Jordi Évole's documentary Astral will take place. Sunday February 19 at 5.30pm, a children's theatre production by Iguana Produccions, Hanna dels tres països, will be staged in the same venue for children ages six to twelve. Later that same evening, at 8.00pm, Astral will be shown once again. In a fundraising effort that will benefit the non-profit group ProActiva Open Arms, tickets for the events will be sold for three euros.

Across Formentera schools, educational talks are being coordinated with representatives of Progreso y Desarrollo Humano and the photographer from Fons pitiús de cooperació in an effort to bring awareness to the issues.

Formentera amb Síria was organised between the Council and Progreso y Desarrollo Humano, a group created in 2012 to further social and cooperative work in the global south. All money raised will go to ADSN, a non-profit working with Syrian refugees in Greece. Fons pitiús de cooperació, Carlin, Baleària, Dignitis, Acción Directa Sierra Norte, Formatierra Service and comunica360 all took part as well.

La Savina metered parking passes must be renewed yearly

oac autoritzacionsThe Formentera Council Office of Mobility is issuing a reminder to islanders that passes for la Savina's “regulated” street parking must be renewed annually. Department head Rafael González referred drivers to the receipt they got on renewing their pass last time. The current system replaces one which required pass-holders to demonstrate authorisation with a windscreen decal bearing an expiry date. Councillor González said the majority of passes were delivered in February and March.

Anyone wishing to renew his or her annual pass can do so in person at the Citizen Information Office (OAC) or via the office's online platform, OVAC. Last year the Council granted 4,400 individuals and businesses passes, which must be renewed one year after the date of issue.

According to the councillor, the winter timetable will be in effect through May 1. Under the present system, parking is metered Monday through Saturday from 9.00am to 2.00pm and Monday through Friday afternoons and evenings as well, from 4.00 to 8.00pm. On Sundays and bank holidays parking is free. In winter cars can be left in blue zone spaces up to three consecutive days. In summertime the limit is one day. Pass-holders can park in green zone spaces up to three days in winter. La Savina residents are given 15 days to park in the green zone, in both summer and winter. When the summer timetable comes into force in May, metered parking will be in effect from 9.00am to 9.00pm Monday through Friday.

Squaring up before entering the world of the restaurant industry

foto restauracio 1The Formentera Council's Office of Social Welfare has announced that a training course on basic restaurant and bar operations, coordinated jointly between the administration and the Balearic Islands job service (SOIB), will reach its scheduled end Friday January 27. The training for disadvantaged groups has served eight Formentera residents and was financed with government money. Two professors oversaw instruction, which has been aimed at preparing participants for work in the hospitality sector.

Lessons, held in SOIB-accredited spaces owned by the Council such as one classroom in the Sant Ferran seniors' centre, were broken down into three subjects: 120 hours in basic restaurant service, 90 hours in fast preparation of food and drinks and 80 hours of non-work professional experience within a firm. The initiative had a budget of 19,200 euros.

Theory-based and practical classes
One aspect of work practice consisted in preparing breakfasts as a method of applying the theories studied in the classroom. Today, to mark the end of training, students will organise a special lunch for local restaurant owners, representatives of Formentera's small and medium-sized business association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Formentera Council. Classroom instruction ends tomorrow, allowing students to begin work experience in the local world of restaurants.

According to social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada: “One of the Council's priorities is delivering training for the unemployed, especially those individuals facing obstacles to job market entry. In order to ensure maximum reach and a diverse range of topics, we organise training programmes on a rotating basis, for youth workers, lifeguards, language learners or social healthcare workers.” Parellada added that the Council's efforts to expand its network of SOIB-accredited training centres is ongoing, and spoke of the need to overcome the challenge posed by Formentera's “triple insularity”.

First step towards reshaping rules that define Formentera's historical zones

primera votacio nova sala de plensThe Formentera Council's first plenary session of 2017 was also the occasion to christen a new plenary hall, the conference room of the Formentera Day Centre. CiF president Jaume Ferrer explained 2017's particular significance for the Council, which turns ten this year on July 10.

The meeting brought preliminary approval for a plan to reshape the island's so-called “subsidiary rules”, regulations that govern how historical areas of Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and el Pilar de la Mola are mapped out. According to land councillor Alejandra Ferrer, the move came in response to a court ruling that there lacked sufficient justification for the original delimitation.

The councillor described how, until now, “one single document has defined which sites are included in the island's catalogue of historic sites. The present change will involve more extensive and specific documentation and include features both inside and outside the historic zones, as well as features that require protection and those that do not.”

The councillor cited the absence of changes —beyond the increasingly lengthy explanations to be included henceforth— to the regulations in Sant Francesc and la Mola. “Sant Ferran's code was amended to reapply previous building restrictions to Ca Ses Castellones,” a requirement which Councillor Ferrer noted was set out in a court ruling.

With “yes” votes from the entire house minus Popular Party (PP) abstention, the session gave the first green light needed for the rule change to take place. Today begins a one-month period during which comments about the plan can be submitted. If definitive ratification occurs, it will lift the partial reversal of the subsidiary norms' effect on historical zones. That reversal currently blocks the way of projects like the Sant Ferran school remodel and construction.

'Sun tax'
Members of the plenary also gave unanimous agreement to a proposal to exempt Formentera and Eivissa residents from a tax on personal power use devised to promote solar power in the islands. Plenary attendants voted to ask Madrid to exclude Formentera and Eivissa from a list of territories where the renewable energy tax is applied. Instead, they appeal to the national administration to use incentives and tax breaks on such energy.

Culture, education and heritage councillor Susana Labrador appeared before the house to report on the efforts of her departments. Their aim, said Labrador, “is to promote and head up projects that improve the role played by culture, heritage and education on our island.” The councillor said such projects are framed by standards set out by working groups of the Govern Balear.

Reviewing her departments' 2016 initiatives, Labrador highlighted the Sant Ferran primary and nursery schools and their priority position on the education office's agenda. She pointed to “tremendous cooperation between our land and heritage offices and the Council's legal teams” in explaining the initial approval of the updated subsidiary norms, saying the changes would provide necessary education equipment to Formentera's zero to twelve year olds.

Along those lines, Labrador made assurances that coordination between the technical crews of the Council and Ibisec would continue in 2017, and cited such cooperation as she held up the department's draft project for definitive completion of the new schools.

Councillor Labrador spoke about the administration's efforts to invest in education for zero to three year olds (“crucial if we are to support parents juggling work and raising children”) as well as upkeep at schools and various other educational initiatives.

On culture, Labrador underscored the long list of activities on which the Council oversees total or partial coordination. As for infrastructure, she assured that in 2017 Formentera would see a remodel of la Mola's lighthouse and other upgrades elsewhere on the island. Finally, the councillor reviewed the recent actions of the island's heritage office and language advisory service. 

Limit palm tree pruning to January and February

Poda palmeraThe Formentera Council's Office of Agriculture has reiterated the restrictions placed on pruning plant species that are susceptible to the red palm weevil, namely, palm trees. Residents are asked to limit their pruning to January and February, given these have been the coolest months in recent years. That cold is significant because Rhynchophorus ferrugineus —the insect also known as the red palm weevil which has devastated palm trees— reduces and even halts its activity altogether at low temperatures.

Law 4/2016 of January 29, which establishes the need for efforts within the Balearic region to eradicate the insect, restricts palm tree pruning to the chilliest months.

Authorisation from agriculture office
Recall that, to prune palm trees, individuals must always have the prior permission of the CiF Office of Agriculture, the goal being to protect pruned trees from infestation and to ensure proper disposal of the garden waste generated in the process. With the green-light of the agriculture office, individuals are allowed to take waste to the local transfer plant, free of charge.

With plants that are susceptible to weevil infestation a series of precautions should be followed. Prune only dry leaves. When green leaf pruning is absolutely necessary, cuts should be kept to a minimum and a scarring solution or other plant protection treatment should be applied. Cuts should be clean and trunks should not be pared. “Close shave” techniques should be avoided when pruning is ornamental. This kind of pruning should only be applied when necessary and followed with a plant protection treatment immediately after. If any weevils are detected during pruning, contact the Council's Office of Agriculture so that the necessary steps can be followed.

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