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Council of Entities green-lights plan to regulate vehicle ingress on Formentera from 2019

Foto Consell dEntitats 2Last night, the Council of Entities heard from two regional officials —Govern balear president Francina Armengol and minister of land, energy and mobility Marc Pons— on a proposal to regulate vehicles that enter the island. It was a gathering attended by a triad of officials from the local administration as well — President Jaume Ferrer and Councillors Sònia Cardona and Rafael González, of the departments of public participation and mobility.

Held in the plenary hall of Formentera's adult care centre, the gathering was attended by roughly twenty representatives of local island groups.

The event was a sounding board for the Govern's plan to move forward with a draft bill on sustainability in environmental measures and tourism on Formentera. One hallmark of the project is the legal scaffolding it would create to give the Formentera Council leeway in deciding when to keep vehicles from entering the island.

Said Ferrer: “The cap on vehicles is a project that emerged here in the Council of Entities and we are here today to inform [the group] that plans are on track to make it a reality”. One reason it is so important, Formentera's president asserted, is that “the administration's top priority is dealing with the subjects most important to islanders”. Measures to ensure peace and quiet and safeguards on natural spaces are “key to tourists' sustained enthusiasm for Formentera”.

Armengol, the Balearic chief, traced efforts to jumpstart the proposed bill to the start of the current legislative session, highlighting a wealth of public debate, across-the-board political support, and a “robust social component” as having paved the way to the present situation. She also underscored the contrast between “sky-high vehicle figures” and “a local passion for sustainability, a size which makes such a venture feasible and the infrastructure required to get it off the ground”.

Mr Pons situated the measure's implementation in 2019, “to make sure there's time to reinforce local public transport so that Formentera's visitors have the ability to get around”.

Draft legislation on environmental and tourism sustainability on Formentera
The Govern de les Illes Balears would lead the effort to create legislation ensuring the legal mechanisms for such a move. The Council, for its part, would administer on-the-ground application of that legislation.

Participants of last night's gathering, while stopping short of evaluating exactly which measures could be employed —expected to take place in 2018 as the bill itself is being pushed forward— they did highlight the legislation's focal points:
Limiting vehicle ingress and travel based on environmental criteria. Establishing a maximum number of rental vehicles. Promoting electric and clean-running vehicles in the public and private sectors. Conducting projects to guarantee increased environmental sustainability.

Inspections and fines to enforce the measures would also be set up.

As for determined seasonal restrictions on entry and circulation of motor vehicles, numerous exceptions —for residents, people with reduced mobility, public utilities, tractors and transport lorries— are envisioned.

The legislation would take effect in summer 2019.

Formentera's survey of local roads (available on the administration's website from February 9) compares two snapshots of congestion on the island: one taken in August 2017 and another from 2009. Councillor González called the results a “clear indication that the argument in favour of proposed measures is well-founded”.

How exactly the law's final provisions are defined will depend on the conclusions of the Council's mobility strategy, currently in development.

Children, youth and social initiatives once again at heart of participatory budgeting

Foto consell entitats 7 11 2017Yesterday evening Formentera's coalition of island organisations met to discuss results of the vote on participatory budgeting in 2017. Online ballots were cast by representatives of 31 local associations, and yesterday assembled coalition members gave the go-ahead to allocate this year's €325,000 budget to the three most popular projects.

The top voted projects, according to community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona, start with a roughly €100,000 fitness circuit for the elderly in Sant Ferran, built along the town's ring road. Second in line is a youth park, budgeted for approximately €209,000 and slated for construction in a public-use area at the juncture of carrers Guillem de Montgrí and Major. Lastly, coalition reps green-lighted an initiative to purchase an accessible sailboat for €16,000.

Aside from the boat, which the Council has already bought, the projects will be carried out in 2018 “in order to ensure maximum impact,” explained Cardona. She stressed that the coalition's bottom line remains “children and youth, social programmes and the disabled”. In the words of Councillor Cardona, the show of commitment “gives cause for thought, and says a lot about where this coalition is at right now”. She pledged the results of the vote “wouldn't go unnoticed by the Council's cabinet”.

The first convocation to initiate the 2018 participatory budgeting process will be held in January.

Island groups want 28 projects on participatory spending

Pressupost participatiu30032017Twenty-eight projects were presented last night at a gathering of Formentera's alliance of local organisations in the Casal d'Entitats. The “Council of Entities,” as it is known in Catalan, convened to discuss potential candidates for the league's so-called “participatory spending”. By evening's end, some of the initial proposals had been fused, reducing the final tally of projects on the list from 34 to 28.

Member groups have till April 12 to rank the proposals, which will then be whittled down to ten.

Next, explained CiF community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona, administration staff will run numbers on the proposals so that groups can decide how to distribute the budgetary spending.

In 2017 there is €325,000 available for distribution. Last year, the maiden year of the participatory spending initiative, the fund had €250,000. That money was split between 2016's two highest-ranked projects: one to eliminate architectural barriers to people with reduced mobility and another to upgrade school playground installations and children's parks.

Towards 2017's 'participatory budgets'

Foto consell entitats febrer 2017Yesterday evening Formentera's league of associations, the “Consell d'Entitats” (literally, “Council of Entities”), convened its regular gathering at Casal d'Entitats, the group's rendezvous point. Not just the occasion to inform association reps on the projects included in 2016's so-called “participatory budgets”, the meeting also served to lay the groundwork for a new set of funding directives in 2017.

Community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona said the current effort was about “taking a step forward with respect to last year's spending” and pointed out that it would be up to the league “to suggest new projects and decide which ones receive funding”. Attendants at last night's meeting also decided on a time line for proposals and were briefed on application protocol.

2016 spending
Additionally, the gathering was a chance for attendants to learn about betterment initiatives carried out in 2016. Rafael González, the administration's councillor of infrastructure, held up playground improvements at four local schools and upgrades to children's parks. He also referred to works to make the island's urban centres more accessible.

Tax office councillor Bartomeu Escandell spoke about the Council's 2017 budget, €23,815,000. For the second year in a row, the decision on how to allocate ten per cent, or €325,000, of the administration's budget will fall to the Consell d'Entitats. That money represents a €75K increase on 2016's figure (€250K).

Formentera drops suit against APB

foto aplaudiment consell entitatsFormentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer has announced that from today the first steps will be taken to withdraw litigation in the Balearic Islands' superior court of justice, TSJB, that took exception to the tender of the project to relocate Formentera's boat landing within the Eivissa port. Last night Ferrer explained the developments before a crowd of local community leaders, known as the Consell d'Entitats (“council of entities”), which convened so the CiF president could report on the deal struck regarding the new Formentera landing in the Eivissa port.

In Ferrer's words, “when there's a sense of dialogue —and it's actively promoted— reaching agreements that are satisfactory to all parties is quite a bit easier”. Ferrer thanked all levels of the administration that were involved and made the deal possible. In addition, he made special mention of a community group —Formentera Importa— and all the locals who took part, April 17, 2016, in a gathering that group organised at the Sant Francesc town square. Participants rallied under the slogan “On Sempre” — a call to keep the Formentera landing “where it's always been”.

At yesterday's Consell d'Entitats gathering, community involvement councillor Sònia Cardona and President Ferrer laid out the steps that went into reaching the accord, a document which was then presented in a September 28 meeting of a Balearic Islands port authority (APB) committee. The text reads: “The [new] Formentera landing will remain on the same lines as the current one; parallel to avinguda de Santa Eulària [an adjacent arterial – TdN] and occupying a lot near Club Nautico Ibiza. It will remain on the same dock as it is currently. This is a solution that maintains proximity with the centre of Vila while still allowing for construction of a pathway that can link the perimeter of the port area, which will be used by people. In so doing, the areas of the port that are dedicated to harbour work, fishing and industrial work will be restricted to the northerly, commercial dock”. The gathering concluded with a hearty round of applause by all those present.


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