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Formentera groups OK call for dialogue re: ferry landing

foto votació consell entitatsYesterday evening, Formentera’s association of local community leaders, el Consell d’Entitats (‘Council of Entities’), convened to unveil the group’s statement and action plan regarding the Balearic port authority’s proposed relocation of Formentera’s landing at the port of Eivissa. Of the groups with a vote, 29 voted in favour of the Consell’s proposed statement. There were neither abstentions nor “no” votes. The text, titled “From indignation to hope” (“De la indignació a l’esperança”), lays out the Consell’s case for dialogue with Autoritat Portuària de Balears, the Eivissa town hall (Ajuntament de Vila) and the Eivissa nautical club. The group says it hopes to clinch an agreement that establishes “a single landing site with all necessary services for Formentera boats”. The text also received the support of those in attendance without voting rights.

The president of the Consell and CiF councillor of community involvement, Sònia Cardona, celebrated the group’s first ever vote and congratulated the working group that drafted the text on a job well done. Further, she hailed the commitment of parliamentary representative Sílvia Tur, who pledged to take the issue to the Balearic parliament, as well as that of CiF president Jaume Ferrer, for promising to call a one-off plenary meeting to vote on the text.

Council signs agreement protecting low-income households from electricity cuts

signatura conveni endesaEarlier today, the CiF office of the presidential cabinet signed an agreement with the Endesa company to facilitate utility payments for low-income individuals at risk of power cuts. The agreement was signed by CiF president Jaume Ferrer and Endesa’s director general in the Balearics, Ernesto Bonnín.

Under the terms of the agreement, Endesa will facilitate payment in cases where Formentera residents run the risk of losing electricity service. According to social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada, the new process will involve the Formentera Council contacting Endesa to let them know if a financially-struggling customer is registered with CiF social services and if that customer has recently received a favourable report from the department.

As per agreement terms, Endesa and the CiF will base repayment requirements for the unpaid bills on assessments concerning the struggling individual that have been overseen by the Council.

The Council, said Parellada, will intercede in those cases that non-payment of a utility bill threatens to translate into a service interruption for resource-strapped families. “We will assess households on a case-by-case basis to determine how to proceed, whether that means reducing or forgiving the sum owed. In the absence of other options the administration will consider paying the bill itself,” she said.

The new deal comes under a framework agreement signed 11 July last between the utilities provider and the FELIB, the organisation that represents municipalities in their dealings with Endesa.

The Endesa-FELIB framework agreement is part of Directive 2009/72/CE (13 July 2009), which establishes common rules for the internal market in electricity. The directive requires Member States of the European Community to adopt measures to guarantee electricity service to financially-struggling individuals.

Formentera to take steps to ensure egalitarian use of old route to la Mola

ple març 2016Earlier today, the Formentera Council (CiF) held its March plenary session. The session brought unanimous approval for a measure to include funding in the CiF’s 2017 budget for an overhaul of el camí Vell (the old road) to la Mola. Transport councillor Rafael González explained that the project, which is designed to improve the flow of traffic along the entire length of el camí Vell, will rely on “dialogue with landowners and neighbours”. González also assured the project would reflect Formentera residents’ various uses of the road as well as traffic flows throughout different segments.

According to the councillor, the revamped arterial will be “safe for cyclists and walkers”, underlying the CiF transport department’s goal of promoting both those activities. González called the old route “crucial for Formentera residents, past and present”, but underscored the vast range of uses el camí Vell is given. “The stretch that is currently closed to car traffic will be reopened exclusively to cyclists and pedestrians”, he said, stressing the Council’s desire to ensure “safety and tranquillity” for bike-riders and walkers.

Unanimous support for refugees

Representatives at the plenary also voted to pass a strongly-worded critique of the recent agreement on refugee resettlement between the EU and Turkey. In the words of social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada, the Council’s unanimously-approved text calls the agreement “an egregious breach of legislation in place to protect refugees” and insists the bilateral move will “only worsen the humanitarian crisis”.

“Members of the plenary have urged the Spanish government to take an active role in the European Commission to ensure that international law is upheld and that refugees receive humane, conscientious assistance”, said Parellada. The councillor also called to mind the CiF’s own registry of households that have made known their willingness to take in refugees temporarily. She pleaded for all levels of government involved in the crisis to assist refugees in “a compassionate, professional and responsible way”.

Preselection phase of search for skilled tourism workers

foto preselecció madridWith the help of jobs portal turijobs.com, the CiF office of tourism and trade has got the selection process under way that will provide a reserve of seasoned tourism industry workers for Formentera businesses this summer. “Signups yielded 9,114 candidates for the 130 jobs that our island businesses have proposed,” explained tourism councilor Alejandra Ferrer. “From that initial pool, 400 individuals were contacted for phone or Skype interviews,” she reported.

As part of the Formentera Talent Tour, interviews with the 400 preselected candidates will be conducted this week. “The first 100 interviews are scheduled at the Marriot Princesa in Madrid, with similar proceedings taking place tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday in Sevilla, Bilbao and Barcelona, respectively,” explained Councillor Ferrer. Business owners and operators themselves will then select employees based on the information obtained in interviews. The Council has pledged to provide any required technological support – like setting up video conference calls so that employers can establish initial contact with the job seekers.

Ferrer said the project arose from an interest among Formentera’s business community in having access to trained, experienced professionals “to fill positions not just in infrastructure but also the service sector”. So that hiring businesses know which contenders are already here on the island and have got housing, a particular section of the workers pool will be dedicated to Formentera residents. The initiative has received additional support from the Eivissa-Formentera chamber of commerce and the Pitiüsa-based SME federation, PIMEEF. It has been financed by the Formentera Council to the tune of €35,000.

Moreover, Councillor Ferrer announced her office would be giving a presentation today in Madrid before members of various media outlets. The presentation will focus on two initiatives: the Descobreix (‘Discover’) campaigns that spotlight the perks of Formentera in the off-season months of May and October and the island’s network of green trails. The councillor described the Council’s set-up in Madrid which combines a stationary bicycle and virtual reality goggles to give would-be visitors a preview of our little corner of paradise.

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.

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