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One more snag-free summer for la Savina's metered parking

Aparcament la Savina premsaThe Office of Transport of the Formentera Council has announced that starting today, Tuesday November 1, winter hours take effect for metered parking in la Savina. Parking is regulated Monday through Saturday from 9.00am to 2.00pm and Monday through Friday 4.00 till 8.00pm. Free parking is applied Sundays and bank holidays. The current scheme will be enforced until May 1.

From today forward, vehicles can remain parked in blue zones up to three days in a row, whereas in summertime they are restricted to one. Authorised users can leave vehicles parked in green zones up to three days; for residents of la Savina, meanwhile, the limit —as in summer— is 15.

Glowing assessment
Transport councillor Rafael González gave a favourable review of the second summer that metered parking is used in la Savina. “We've had a functional parking system that has allowed locals and tourists alike to enjoy this part of the island,” said González, in a positive appraisal of the traction the system has gained locally. The councillor also celebrated timetable changes, pushed by the town's neighbourhood association, that mean three fewer hours of nighttime pay parking.

Revenues
Now in its second year, the scheme had netted the Formentera Council €180,000 in blue zone collections as of November 1. With expenditures for staff, materials, land and permits to contract harbour employees at €172,000, the service, says González, is self-sustaining.

In another note, from tomorrow the overspill parking lot located in la Savina across from Illes Pitiüses park will be closed.

Formentera offers 15 courses in agriculture and livestock farming

blat amparo arias premsaThe Formentera Council's Office of Agriculture announced that this Monday, October 31, enrolment will begin for continuing education opportunities in produce and livestock farming during the 2016-2017 season. The calendar, which starts November 11 with a course on farming machinery, will continue through the end of March.

Department chair Bartomeu Escandell laid out his office's goal: “Assure a wide variety of courses and training opportunities, open to the public, for the island's farming and livestock sectors”. In autumn 2016 and winter 2017 a total of 15 courses are available in farming, animal husbandry and even gardening, with a course on drought-resistant plants filling out the catalogue.

Such courses aim to meet the need for “specialised training in agriculture, livestock rearing and agrofood,” said Escandell, as well as offer “basic training for individuals interested in the rural sector”.

Courses
Instruction will be given in the following areas: Agricultural machinery, Waste and fertiliser management, Biofertilisers, Basic pesticide use in professional industry, Beekeeping, Fig tree pruning, Fruit tree pruning, Olive tree pruning, Organic ecology, Integrated control of the red palm weevil, Introduction to stone wall repairs, Good health on small ruminant animal farms, Food handling, Xeriscaping and Integrated vineyard production.

The classes, which are free and combine both theory and its practical application, last between 5 and 25 hours and will be held at Centre Antoni Tur “Gabrielet”.

Anyone interested in signing up should visit the Citizen's Information Office in person from 9.00am to 2.00pm, do it online via OVAC, request info through the Formentera Council's Office of Agriculture by calling 971.32.10.87 extensions 3166 and 3165, or contact agricultura@conselldeformentera.cat. Enrolment will remain open as long as there is space available to ensure proper instruction.

Formentera requests provisional power sources be put to use year-round until twin cable in place

foto reunio ree endesaThe councillor of the president's office, Bartomeu Escandell, together with his analogue from the offices of environment and energy, Daisee Aguilera, and Joan Groizard, director general of energy of the Govern Balear, were joined today in the Formentera Council's plenary hall by Endesa's director in the Balearics, Ernesto Bonnin, and Red Eléctrica Española's regional delegate, Eduardo Maynau. The representatives later met with residents of Es Ca Marí, an area on the island that houses Formentera's power station.

At the meeting the officials agreed to seek an appointment with the Spanish ministry of industry and energy to call for a solution to the energy problems faced by the island. Since October 15, repairs of the current underwater electricity supply cable have meant the power station has had to switch on the site's turbine. Area residents have complained of noise, fumes and vibrations coming from the station since the turbine has been active.

To tackle the problem, the goal is to urge the ministry to adopt a proposal to keep the station's provisional generators running through the year. Able to function independently, the generator can be used while avoiding the disturbances that stem from the turbine, which is why Councillor Aguilera hopes the temporary solution can be extrapolated across the year.

Backup cable in 2019
The generators will be necessary until new underwater cables can be installed. Red Eléctrica Española's spokesperson said the company expects a new twin cable linking the island with Eivissa will be operational by 2019, which could relegate Formentera's power supply problems to the past.

Moreover, the Council asked that the current cable repairs receive follow-up attention. The administration will additionally request sand dune and underwater habitat preservation plans for the affected areas.

La Mola lighthouse prepares to don veneer of cultural centre

foto ple setembre 2016At the Formentera Council's October plenary session, convened earlier today, the entire house backed a deal between the Balearic port authority (APB) and the Council on la Mola's trademark lighthouse, “el far de la Mola”. The plan, besides doting the monument with public facilities, envisions adding cultural space to the lighthouse's list of uses.

As culture and patrimony councillor Susana Labrador explained, the site will contain an interpretative centre for Formentera lighthouses, a museographic exhibition and a hall for culturally-themed, small-scale functions, which the administration speculates may spill over onto an outdoor patio. Currently the Council is drafting plans to remodel the building in its entirety. The project has a tentative pricetag of €600,000 and could be undertaken as soon as autumn 2017. The partnership, initially framed for 15 years, can be renewed to last another five. APB will retain control over parts of the lighthouse like the utilities room and its upper chambers to ensure continued functioning.

Morgue
Unanimous consent was also received by the proposed rezoning for a municipal morgue, planned for the lot adjacent the Sant Francesc cemetery. Land councillor Alejandra Ferrer pointed out that the site's rezoning will make it possible to move ahead with a call for bids on the project. The councillor, who referred to a forthcoming pick of a winning bidder, assured that “the start of construction and the much-needed building itself“ are not far off. All parties in the plenary backed the measure and agreed on its importance for the island.

Ferry landing
Another proposal backed by the entire house dealt with the agreement to transfer the docking point for Eivissa-bound boats from Formentera. Council president Jaume Ferrer described the proposal as “making official our council's deal with the other administrations in relocating the Formentera boat landing at the Eivissa port, basing it on the terms of the September 28 board meeting with APB”.

Ferrer took the opportunity to salute the other branches of the public administration — Eivissa Council, Govern Balear, APB — as well as civil society organisations like On Sempre for defending the wishes of the people of Formentera.

Plenary members pledged to continue working from a position of unity “to make sure that the new harbour station furnishes all of the necessary services” for Formentera's residents and visitors.

Housing
Also adopted was a joint proposal put forth by Gent x Formentera and PSOE to overhaul a law on urban property rentals. The goal, explained Alejandra Ferrer, is to set limits and establish the definition of seasonal tourist rentals as “any dwelling that a property owner cedes, either directly or indirectly and on a repeated basis, to a third-party, in exchange for financial returns and for a period of 30 days or less”. If the criteria are met at least twice in one year, the property shall be subject to the regulations on tourist-use rentals. Properly documented temporary rentals for labourers are excluded from the measure.

Land and tourism
Appearing before plenary members, land and tourism councillor Ferrer detailed her departments' areas of action, invoking “a smart use of our natural resources and surroundings” and aspirations of “breaking with the pack in terms of quality”. She stressed the need to educate visitors about Formentera and push them on social and environmental responsibility.

Ferrer also reviewed the recent launch of the Council's new inspection unit. On urbanism she pointed to a continued push to apply and enforce the island's code of “subsidiary regulations”. Speaking on housing, the land councillor highlighted multiparty support —between Formentera, the office of housing in Balearics and the Govern in Palma— for a report documenting  local needs aimed at recalibrating help money and reimagining moves forward.

Local commerce and artisan crafts also featured heavily among the councillor's plans, and Ferrer described a brand of tourism “that centres on product and market diversification”. She underscored, lastly, the importance of “improving the pre- and post-summer season”.

Formentera rolls out diverse bill to mark Universal Children's Day

foto dia de la infancia 2016Formentera's councillors of social welfare, environment and sports, Vanessa Parellada, Daisee Aguilera and Jordi Vidal, respectively, shared news today of the activities organised by the Council to commemorate Children's Day on the island. Universal Children's Day occurs on November 20 and, as last year, a programme of events has been tailor-made for local children and teens. Formentera is also recognised as a Child-friendly City, an honour bestowed on the Council October 17, 2014.

Conferences
The programme gets under way tomorrow with two open conferences. Paco Pérez will give a talk entitled "El rosa y el blau ja no molen" (Why pink and blue just don't cut it anymore) and Virginia Vallejo will present another on sexual diversity and gender identity. For parents, guardians or anyone else interested, the two events will take place from 7.00pm in the conference hall of the Office of Culture.

Activities continue until November 30 with everything from storytelling for kids, theatre, film screenings and an open-house at the sports centre to reach out to Formentera young people and families.

This year also sees the return of two other initiatives: the community beach cleanups organised jointly with Formentera schools and an intergenerational space to facilitate exchanges between youth and the elderly. On Saturday, November 25, residents are invited to take part in a community bike ride, a first this year and just one of the many activities marking Universal Children's Day. See posters for more information.

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