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Formentera rebates occupancy fees for terraces, shops and markets and joins Climate and Energy Pact

foto 2021 ple abrilDecision-makers gathered today for local government’s April plenary assembly, a session which brought cross-party support for a collection freeze on fees paid by restaurants offering outdoor seating and by merchants at craft or farmers’ markets. Economy and finance chief Bartomeu Escandell defended the measure, saying, “This freeze has been extended every six months since Covid began, and we won’t hesitate to repeat the process if the situation requires”. He stressed“no one left behind”was the watchword and said the ultimate goal was to “help those who need it most as much as we can”.

Backing from the Gent per Formentera-PSOE cabinet meant preliminary approval, despite abstention from Sa Unió representatives, of a motion to modify the budget. The economy and finance councillor said the €3,344,629 retooling was about“adapting [spending] to current circumstances”and described it as “a necessary amendment financed with reserve funding”. “Now is the time to boost the economy, invest and help the most needy families and businesses on the island”, Escandell explained. “Among the new additions on the 2021 budget are aid for freelancers, business owners and families, and financing for the launch or completion of various construction projects.”

The GxF-PSOE cabinet again overcame opposition abstention to tweak the Consell’s Strategic Subsidies Plan (Pla Estratègic de Subvencions), including an €18,000 line item to collaborate with S.D. Formentera on the hometown football club’s 50th anniversary celebration. Councillor Escandell defended the proposal, reasoning, “This club is the oldest on the island and, in a way, their story is ours. Our support now can finance events and efforts to tell that story, and how we all remember it.”

Climate and Energy Pact
Cross-party support materialised behind Formentera’s joining of the Mayors’Climate and Energy Pact. “Climate change is here now and it’s one of the greatest challenges of our time”, noted environment chief Antonio J Sanz. “We need immediate action and cooperation between local, regional and national authorities the world over”, he insisted. “But our efforts mustn’t stop at mitigation. We need to adapt, and joining this pact will help us do just that”. The covenant means cutting greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, reducing energy consumption by 27% and ensuring renewable energy accounts for 27% of total consumption. Sanz concluded his remarks by emphasising the importance of “making clean energy a part of local government’s mandate”.

Other proposals
Attendees agreed to officially designate Diada de Sant Jaume (25 July) and the feast day of Sant Ferran (30 May) as local holidays in 2022. They also green-lighted the yearly revision, dated 1 January 2021, of the municipal register of inhabitants (“el padró”), which counts 13,465 islanders. The figures will be forwarded to the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

Backing was additionally secured for the opposition’s proposal, ultimately brokered by the cabinet, to continue upgrades of the island’s sports facilities and to measure current and future needs against participation by sportspeople, associations, clubs, sports federations and political groups. Deputy premiere Ana Juan, who is temporarily in charge of the Formentera Department of Sport, highlighted improvements and changes this current legislative term and stressed the effort “takes listening to the demands of our various sports groups and clubs”.

Lastly, attendees came together to support a call from La Mola primary school, La Mola Parents’ Association (APIMA), La Mola Residents’ Association, La Mola Seniors’ Association and residents at large to, in the words of education chief Susana Labrador, “make sure La Mola park satisfies existing demand in those areas where it currently falls short”. The Sa Unió proposal was brokered by the GxF-PSOE cabinet.

Departmental review
The day’s session closed with a report from heritage, language policy and vocational training chief Raquel Guasch. The councillor highlighted “the work, dedication and commitment” of department staff. “One of our priorities this legislature was to expand safeguards and preservation around local heritage sites, and we’re still on this path”, she said. One such initiative was the listing of La Mola’s legacy windmill, el molí Vell de la Mola, as a cultural interest site (BIC), another involved commissioning a plan to afford Ses Salines with similar BIC protections. Formentera’s first “catalogue of country roads”was put to tender, and the Advisory Committee of Immaterial Heritage (CAPI) was formed. The call has also gone out for applicants to the Consell’s research grant — a prize which, since Guasch has held office, has grown by €2,500. The councillor also trumpeted completion of archaeological work at Sa Tanca Vella Byzantine necropolis, as well as archaeological research in autumn at La Mola’s Cova 127.

Guasch likewise held up the 39 technical reports and 18 authorisations for archaeological operations that her department has issued or processed since August. Pointing to a newly reinforced staff, the councillor claimed “100% progress”on efforts related to local archives. Other improvements at the municipal archive include an independent and better equipped space.

On language policies, the councillor insisted Catalan courses for adults remained “a cornerstone”. Classes took place and were well received in autumn and winter despite Covid-19 restrictions, which also brought the added challenge of locating classrooms better suited to new space requirements. Enrolment in 11 courses from October to February has totalled 225. Guasch gave special kudos to the daily efforts of the Consell’s language advisory service across the departments.

“Commitment, hard work, dedication”, mused the councillor, “these will continue to guide us day by day in the mandate that islanders gave us in 2019”.

30 April 2021
Communications Department
Council of Formentera

Formentera lifeguards back on the beach

foto 2021 socorrisme AThe Formentera Department of Interior reports that tomorrow will mark the start of a new season for lifeguards on local beaches. The service extends from 1 May to 31 October and is funded by the administration.

Ten lifeguards will take to their stations tomorrow and another 12 will join the ranks at the start of June. The full crew, 23 staff members in all, remains on duty until 30 September. The crew shrinks to 10 lifeguards and the team’s coordinator in October.

Interior chief Josep Marí pointed out that openings would soon be listed for new recruits to the local team. Applicants must be accredited to work in natural outdoor settings.

Refresher course
Yesterday and today lifeguard and rescue staff completed refresher courses for some of the most frequent parts of the job, like reanimation and emergency preparedness.

In the low-season months of May and October, lifeguards patrol Ses Illetes, Llevant and Arenals. From June to September, service expands to cover El Pas des Trucadors, El Tanga, Es Pujols, Cala Saona and Es Caló.

Adapted and ‘heart safe’ beaches
Es Arenals and Es Pujols beaches are both equipped to allow swimming for individuals with reduced mobility. The service is available 12 noon to 5.00pm (green flag hours); at Arenals, from May to October and at Es Pujols, from June to September (both inclusive).

Defibrilators are available everywhere lifeguard services are offered in case of cardiac arrest.

For information about sea conditions, visit www.platgesdebalears.com.

30 April 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Formentera says local law enforcement needs additional officers, inter-agency coordination to make summer safe as possible

foto 2021 JLS BMembers of Formentera’s Local Security Council (Junta Local de Seguretat) convened today for an ordinary session chaired by Consell de Formentera premiere Alejandra Ferrer and Madrid’s envoy in the Balearics, Enrique Sanchez Navarrete. Other face-to-face and online attendees included Manuel Hernández, chief commissioner of the National Police of Eivissa; Enrique Gómez Bastida, head of operations for the Balearic Islands Civil Guard; Francisco Javier López, Civil Guard captain; the heads of the Formentera Civil Guard; Formentera Local Police chief Félix Ramos and the head of the local Civil Protection corps, Francisco Moya. Among the political figures present were local interior chief Josep Marí, chief of social welfare and PSOE rep Rafael Ramírez, Gent per Formentera rep Bartomeu Escandell, Sa Unió rep Lorenzo Córdoba, regional director general of emergencies and interior Jaume Barceló and head of Balearic Islands Institute of Public Safety (ISPIB) Vicenç Martorell.

Alejandra Ferrer presented the Tourism Reactivation Plan (Pla de Reactivació Turística) to meeting attendees, pointing to the document’s division into public health measures, controls and outreach. Speaking after the gathering, Ferrer shared her hopes that the island would once again receive summer reinforcements of Civil Guard officers specialised in marine protections, maritime rescue operations, civil protection and traffic enforcement. She also asked for “reinforcements from the Balearic office of emergencies to enforce Covid safety regulations at businesses and speed up case investigations”.

Coordination
Ferrer called for working meetings to“coordinate measures scheduled to take effect after emergency orders are lifted and see how we can make summer as safe and peaceful as possible and ensure an appropriate strategy for dealing with crowds”.

For his part, Sánchez Navarrete asserted such meetings were “key to improving coordination, particularly at this stage of the pandemic”and praised collaboration between the Consell and the Civil Guard, National Police and regional representatives generally. He also made assurances that the ROCA team and maritime and traffic officers of the Civil Guard would be among Formentera’s summer reinforcements.

Additionally on the agenda was Formentera’s signing of an agreement between the Spanish Ministry of Interior and Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) to improve care for victims of gender violence.

Lastly, attendees were briefed on the falling rate of local crime — a reality President Ferrer took care to nuance: “In a winter as unusual as this one, it’s impossible to compare figures from other years”.

29 April 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Alejandra Ferrer urges Negueruela to seek collaboration on reopening roadmap and summer 2021 strategy

foto 2021 neguerelaConsell de Formentera premiere Alejandra Ferrer sat down today with Iago Negueruela, the Balearic minister of the economic model, tourism and labour, for a gathering that was also attended by Ana Juan, the island’s deputy premiere and chair of the commerce and entrepreneurship departments; local finance and economy chief Bartomeu Escandell; regional director general of tourism Rosana Morillo and, from Formentera employers’ associations, Pep Mayans (president of the small- and medium-sized business group, or Pimef), Juanma Costa (Chamber of Commerce) and Vicent Tur (Hotel Federation of Formentera, AHF).

At the meeting President Ferrer detailed the tourism reactivation plan adopted last week by the Commission for Tourism Development and Promotion (COPT). The plan comprises four parts: public health measures; control and education; economic response; marketing and tourism strategy.

Diagnostic tests
The Consell and employers’ groups asked Negueruela for help on public health measures being requested by travellers’ countries of origin and, according to the premiere, “described joint efforts already under way to scale local testing for islanders and visitors”.

“In fact”, said Ferrer, “we’ve already contacted companies specialising in PCR and antigen testing to see what they can offer locally and how competitively it can be priced”. Local government and the sector will collaborate to ensure testing costs approximate those in other regions, she said. “And we’ve also asked the regional government for support”, she explained. The leaders hope the service will also facilitate regular testing for employers and workers, serving as a public health guardrail until herd immunity is achieved.

Roadmap
President Ferrer also pressed Negueruela to set a timetable for the lockdown exit strategy, starting with the end of emergency orders and looking ahead to summer measures. She urged the minister to be mindful of the specificities of Formentera, and said health authorities should seek consensus with the Consell and island business, as they the ones who must ultimately implement the chosen strategy.

Likewise, Ferrer stressed the importance of having a hotel on the island where covid-19-positive tourists could self-isolate as in 2020.

Ferrer said Covid data should indicate whether patients are tourists or residents so that the accumulated incidence rate truly reflects the situation of the local population. For his part, Minister Negueruela made assurances that he has already passed this request on to the central government.

Economic measures
Negueruela pointed to an expected €855-million agreement with the Ministry of Finance would facilitate direct aid to local companies.

After the gathering with business representatives, Ferrer and Negueruela dedicated a subsequent tête-à-tête to, in the premiere’s words, “seeing how synergies can be improved in the way we court tourists”.


28 April 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Consell unlocks €30K for old people’s clubs

foto 2021 conveni club majorEarlier today, Consell de Formentera premiere Alejandra Ferrer signed partnership agreements freeing up €30,000 to steward maintenance, services and activities at Formentera’s four seniors’ clubs in 2021. Deputy premiere and chair of the elderly department Ana Juan was also on hand at the signing.

Deals were signed with Julián Galindo, chair of the Formentera Retirees’ and Pensioners’ Club of Sant Francesc (€11,000); Rita Costa, chair of Sant Ferran Social Centre for the Elderly (€8. 8,000); Maria Costa, chair of La Savina Retirees’ and Pensioners’ Club (€5,500) and Jaume Escandell, chair of El Pilar Seniors’ Association (€5,500).

28 April 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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