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Formentera plenary pushes Govern Balear for housing benefits

Foto votacio ple febrer 2017Members of the Formentera Council gathered today to celebrate the administration's February plenary. During the session one measure on housing benefits, adopted unanimously, proposed pushing the Govern Balear to heed the suggestions and comments included in a housing bill. Land councillor Alejandra Ferrer called it “a step toward resolving the problematic issue of home rentals on Formentera in a way that takes into account the particular characteristics of the island and the needs that exist here”. Councillors also voted to urge the executive branch of the regional government to create benefits for home renters, bearing in mind, said Ferrer, “low-income families and €600-plus rental payments”. Representatives from all of the parties supported the measure.

Revival of Formentera's salt flat heritage
The plenary also saw the unanimous adoption of a measure to protect Formentera's salt flat heritage, an asset which, as patrimony councillor Susana Labrador called to mind, received official recognition in 2004. The text calls for urgent action by the Balearic Islands' coastal authority, Govern Balear and Formentera Island Council to prevent major damages to the structure that houses the “màquina d'en Palla” and restore other related sites.

Plenary members also voted to push authorities to work with the owners of the land where Ses Salines is located to implement a project to revive the salt flats. Such a project was agreed on August 4, 2015 by the ensemble of the political parties with representation in the Council. Councillor Labrador said that text calls for “the construction of an interpretative centre, restoration of related heritage sites in the park and creation of a network of walking and cycling trails that showcase the natural beauty and historic importance of Ses Salines, including signs highlighting plant and animal life in the park”.

Other proposals
Also adopted at the plenary despite the Popular Party's abstention was a proposal by the socialists (PSOE) regarding the central government's policy on awarding grants and urging equal opportunities and rights for all students. Support was likewise given, with 13 votes for and two Popular Party (PP) votes against, to a joint proposal from PSOE and Gent per Formentera (GxF), calling for policies to promote equality and curb gender violence as well as observance, March 8, 2017, of International Women's Day.

Official statement
All parties lent support to a call from GxF and PSOE to lift barriers to refugee reception. The manifesto airs concerns over the desperate situation of Syrians displaced by a war now in its fifth year. According to social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada the text also highlights Spain's refusal to meet intake quotas for asylum seekers set by the European Union in 2016.
 
Report from sports councillor
Sports councillor Jordi Vidal took stock of his department's efforts and pointed to targets on the horizon in 2017. He highlighted upcoming plans extend and increase by 20% a partnership promoting the values inherent in sport. Vidal also trumpeted the early go-ahead received to extend a partnership with the Balearic Islands' foundation for sports and the scheduling of two regional school sports finals on the island.

Vidal also held up one of his department's priorities: a nautical sports centre he said had already received the green light from the Palma government and Balearic Islands coastal authority. According to the councillor, the call for bids to construct the centre is currently being prepared.

Formentera recycled 14.6 % more plastic containers in 2016

Reciclatge contenidors premsaAccording to the administration's Office of Environment, Formentera notched a 7.27% year-on-year spike in paper/cardboard, glass and plastic container recycling, moving from 2,106.62 tonnes in 2015 to 2,259.82 in 2016. That year the island generated 9,904.90 tonnes of rubbish and recyclable material — 6.31% higher than in 2015, when the figure was 9,316.44 tonnes.

By material, Formentera residents recycled 14.6% more so-called “light plastics” (383.08 tonnes in 2015 compared to 439.10 tonnes in 2016). The next most significant year-on-year rise was in glass recycling, which jumped 9.94% from 854.52 tonnes to 939.54 tonnes. A modest uptick was registered in paper and cardboard recycling – from 2015 to 2016 the figure climbed from 869.02 tonnes to 881.18 tonnes, a 1.3% increase.

Cash savings
Recognising their efforts to “make waste management on Formentera more sustainable”, environment councillor Daisee Aguilera thanked the people of the island in general and the big producers (cafés, restaurants, hotels and apartments, shops, etc) in particular. The councillor underscored the potential economic benefits recycling could have for the island, noting “in 2016, the island netted €179,206.74 by selling recycled paper/cardboard, plastics and glass”.

Aguilera said the money was used to increase collection frequency and bankroll bin maintenance and educational outreach among businesses (big waste producers) and school children.

In the councillor's words, “if these materials had been sent to the Ca Na Putxa rubbish tip instead of being recycled, we would have paid €137 per tonne plus an additional €30 per tonne tax”. Given freight costs are covered by the recycling companies themselves (Ecoembes collects paper/cardboard and plastics and Ecovidrio recycles glass), Aguilera held up waste transfer savings of €377,389.94 in 2016.

Balearic holiday boasts entertainment for young and old

Colles de ball dia de les illesEarlier today the Formentera Council's Offices of Culture and Holidays unveiled their programme for Balearic residents' annual celebration of the region, Dia de les Illes Balears. Department head Susana Labrador said the holiday (alternately referred to as “la Diada”) would happen Tuesday March 1, with the administration hosting its official observance at 1.00pm in Sant Francesc's main square, plaça de la Constitució. Onlookers will be treated to performances by traditional dance troupes Es Xacoters and Es Pastorells and a selection of favourites from local cuisine will be served by the Es Forn gastronomic association.

The starting shot of the third Cursa de la Dona walk/run will be fired earlier that same day — at 11.00am for runners and an hour later for walkers. Participants will set off on a 5 or 10k circuit which starts from and loops back to plaça de la Constitució. Money raised through collections of the €10 registration fee will be channeled to the AECC, Spain's anti-cancer association. Participants will also be given a T-shirt at signup. From 2.00pm there will be a community paella, €10 for adults and €5 for kids.

Storytelling
Diada-related events will begin popping up as early as tomorrow. From 6.00pm on Thursday February 23, the Marià Villangómez library in Sant Francesc will host an evening of storytelling called “El gegant d'Es Vedrà”. The following Thursday will see another storytelling session, this time on Equality, in the Sant Ferran library at 5.00pm.

Simultaneous concerts across the Balearics
On Saturday February 25, Marcel Cranc and Quin Delibat! will head up performances at Centre Antoni Tur Gabrielet. The show starts at 9.00pm and snacks will be offered between concerts. Each of the four islands will host a visiting Balearic act in a bid to promote musical and cultural exchange among the islands.

Basketball tournament
The fifth Balearic Islands' basketball tournament, sponsored by Trasmapi, will take place between Tuesday February 28 and March 1. Teams from all across the region will take part in the event, which will also serve as a backdrop for a training course for aspiring coaches.

Theatre
The weekend of March 4 and 5 is one of theatre for all ages. Saturday March 4 at 9.00pm, Somnis Produccions will perform “Un tramvia anomenat desig” (“A Streetcar named Desire” in English) to the crowd at the local cinema. Admission to the 60-minute show is five euros or three euros for spectators under 25. “Els Músics de Bremen” (“Town Musicians of Bremen”), by the Musics Viatgers theatre company, is scheduled for 6.00pm in the cinema. Fifty-five minutes in length, that performance is free and recommend for children three and up.

Formentera Police's permanent roster grows by four

Foto policia localThe president's office of the Formentera Council announced the addition today of four permanent officers to the island's local police force. Administration president Jaume Ferrer saluted the efforts of the new employees, who successfully submitted to a series of trials in the process. The expansion, a bid by Formentera Local Police to consolidate its ranks, puts the force's current number of officers at 13.

Through plenary, Council will ask Madrid to remove barriers to refugee reception

Foto patxi galanAccording to the Formentera Council's Office of Social Welfare, a plenary meeting this Friday February 24 will involve an official statement from the administration urging fewer obstacles to incoming refugees. Drafted by political groups Gent per Formentera and PSOE, the document airs concerns over the desperate situation of Syrians displaced by war in their country, a conflict now in its fifth year. The text also highlights, explained social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada, Spain's refusal to meet intake quotas for asylum seekers set by the European Union in 2016.

The manifesto decries “Europe's failure to provide an adequate response to refugees. Efforts till now have centred on policing our own borders and turning Europe into a fortress. The result is that hundreds of thousands of people are forced to risk their lives on perilous land or sea crossings”. The document also underscores the “particularly tragic situation of women and children, who face exploitation and sexual violence” and “other vulnerable individuals, such as those with disabilities”.

Hence the Formentera Council's decision, first, to point out the universally recognised right to asylum and, second, to call on the Spanish government to disentangle the application process for asylum seekers and cut down the administration's response time. Those are just some of the measures laid out in the manifesto, which urges an array of improvements to refugee reception measures and guarantees to the right to asylum.

Second manifesto
Parellada also held up another official declaration, unanimously adopted by the Formentera Council in April 2016, which rejected the EU-Turkey refugee resettlement deal on the grounds that it was an egregious breach of legislation protecting refugees and would only worsen the humanitarian crisis under way.

Formentera with Syria
According to the councillor, the situation of people in refugee camps has been brought into sharp focus in recent weeks thanks to «Formentera amb Síria» (Formentera with Syria), a campaign organised by the Council and the non-profit group «Progreso y Desarrollo Humano». She also thanked the efforts and involvement of the entire population of Formentera.

Parellada called Formentera “an island full of welcoming people,” a fact she said was evident in “our 2015 pledge to put up refugees, which led Spain's department of immigration to create a roster of individuals willing to host refugees or able to offer other resources like clothes, money, childcare, language instruction, etc”.

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