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It's official: Council renews partnership with farmers' co-op

Foto accio concertada Cooperativa 2018Earlier today officials formalised a concerted action agreement between the Formentera Council and the local collective of farm workers.

For the fourth straight year the Council and the island's co-operative of farmers have sealed a concerted action agreement whereby the administration pledges to provide the Cooperativa del Camp up to €115,000 in financial support. The farmers' co-op must supply evidence demonstrating that need, which, according to the agreement, will be calculated as the group's earnings less expenditures.

The partnership aims to build on the push to reactivate local agriculture and improve Formentera's rural landscape. The pact also envisions support for other actions to beef up the local agriculture.

At its heart, the programme is about delivering a boost to farming on Formentera, with all the economic, social, cultural and environmental knock-on effects such a boon carries with it.

The current project took shape in April 2015 when the first islanders made land donations to the initiative. The bid went on to win successive renewals in 2016 and 2017. In the three years since its start, the reserve of untilled farmland has continued to grow. Landowners and the farmers' co-op formalise the land grants in contractual agreements, and Cens de Terres today counts 200 hectares in its catalogue of farmed land.

Nearly 85% percent of Cens de Terres plots are actively tilled. Roughly 50% of the land now supports grasses used for fodder and cereals and 38% of the reserve has undergone maintenance like ploughing and weeding.

The remaining parcels are either awaiting some form of action or on track to withdraw.

Harvest increases have been recorded since 2016.

In light of results, the push to reactivate local agriculture and improve Formentera's countryside can be considered a success.

Formentera OKs waste management revamp

Foto ple feb2When members of the Formentera Council gathered today for the administration's February plenary assembly, the encounter was marked by a successful bid to tweak the guidelines for the contract in place for public rubbish collection and transport of household waste, road cleaning and upkeep of natural spaces.

The change in wording will enable waste collection of plant material from those on the island who are currently generating the most of it. Plenary members hope the modification will help achieve two things. First, that such waste can be made into compost and reused across Formentera's countryside and, second, reduced transport costs that reflect less rubbish shipped to the Ca Na Putxa tip.

Plenary attendees came together in support of proposed guidelines for acció concertada with the Cooperativa del Camp, the island's farmers' co-operative, in 2018. The move is seen as a way to expand efforts already under way to revive local agriculture and beautify rural and other natural spaces. In that spirit and in light of an upsurge that took place last year in the lands the co-operative is charged with stewarding, assembly members agreed to allocate an additional €20,000 to the group's spending allowance.

Other measures
The assembly was also united in support for a Gent per Formentera (GxF) proposal to request islanders be given more robust travel discounts. Plenary members voted to increase the price offset on flights from Eivissa to the Spanish mainland to 75% and to 100% on airport duties).

Broad backing was likewise secured by a number of other measures, such as a proposal to modify use guidelines for the municipal exhibition space (also called the “Ajuntament Vell”),  another to recognise three local police officers for thirty years of service, and a third to lend official support to the plea being made in conjunction with March 8, World Women's Day.

Official statement
Assembly members crossed party lines to urge support for the Asociación Española contra el Cáncer's manifesto. Cancer claimed the lives of nine million people in 2015, making it the second cause of death worldwide.

Given the gravity of the problem, members of Formentera's plenary assembly agreed to support the AECC manifesto as well as prevention and eradication efforts that that group and broad segments of society clamour for.

At the end of the gathering, sports secretary Jordi Vidal shed light on the efforts under his watch in 2017. He highlighted progress in one crucial aspect of his department's work: construction of a nautical sports centre on the island. According to Vidal, the facility is a crucial part of what he indicated was the Council's broader goal of “developing a whole basket of activities related to the sea”.

Formentera Council commends Santi Colomar

Santi colomar 2President Jaume Ferrer, speaking on his own behalf and on behalf of the entire Formentera Council, offered congratulations to Santi Colomar on the historian's receipt of the regional administration's 2018 Ramon Llull prize.

Born in 1968, the Formentera native graduated from the Universitat de Barcelona with a bachelor's in modern history before becoming a prolific disseminator of the medieval, modern and contemporary histories of the Pityusic Islands and, more broadly, the Mediterranean.

The Formentera Council nominated Colomar for the Premi Sant Jaume in light of his commitment to rebuilding the historic memory of the island where he was born, and to his efforts within the local chapter of Obra Cultural Balear, a cultural foundation in the region.

The Council also extends congratulations to the local division of Civil Protection volunteers, who received commendation this year along with their counterparts across the Balearics.

The Civil Protection service members of Formentera received praise locally in 2014, when the Council awarded them a Sant Jaume award for their generosity and charitable work. The volunteers were celebrated for multifarious efforts, including “taking an active role in prevention and protection during emergencies and guaranteeing the safety of local residents”.

Council officials meet with blood and tissue bank representatives

Trobada banc de sang i teixits amb consell reduxFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, together with Vanessa Parellada and Sònia Cardona, the island's secretaries of social welfare and citizen participation, sat down this morning with two representatives from a regional blood and tissue bank. Ismael Gutiérrez and Estela Bellorini are, respectively, the Fundació Banc de Sanc i Teixits's director general and coordinator for Eivissa and Formentera.

In addition to serving as a progress report on the Fundació's efforts on the island, the gathering confirmed a 10% uptick in local donors last year, when 45 new registrations were recorded.

Despite frequently modest donations (only 21 in 1000 Formenterencs give blood or tissues), officials on both sides expressed high hopes the figure would continue to increase in 2018. The goal, they said, is to maximise collaborative efforts with groups on the island to educate the public and turn out potential donors.

Donating drives
Five blood and tissue drives are scheduled this year. The first, today, will go from 3.00pm to 7.30pm in the Formentera hospital. The next will take place on Monday, April 23.

The Formentera Council takes an active role in wellness and disease-prevention campaigns on the island.

Formentera calls on Madrid to pick up tab for public servants' extra pay

Ple gener reduxMembers of the Formentera Council plenary assembly gathered today, a Friday, for the administration's first plenary session of 2018. At the centre of debate was a proposed bonus to level the playing field for public servants living in the islands.

The first such initiative, proposed by the People's Party (PP), called on the Council to create a dedicated fund for the bonuses using its own resources. The measure failed after it was rejected by majority party Gent per Formentera (GxF). The PSOE brought their own version of a similar proposal, which was scrapped as well.

Vanessa Parellada, secretary of social welfare, youth services and human resources affirmed both proposals were voted down because they would have put the Council on the hook for the financing the extra pay. “The isolation of Formentera from mainland Spain” [commonly referred to as the island's “triple insularity”] “affects the entire island”. “Any measure which improves the lot of one segment of the population by worsening another's” —referring to those who would pay for the fund— “would be illogical”. She said it would be like “forcing Formentera to foot the bill for the downsides of working on Formentera”.

GxF presented a measure supporting the so-called “insular bonus” on the condition the central government in Madrid supplied the funds to make it a reality. Parellada drew a parallel with residents' discounts on ferry tickets, reduced rubbish transport costs and all the other compensation that exists to remedy Formentera's insularity. “Victims of this insularity mustn't be obliged to also foot the bill”, she argued. The measure passed thanks to backing from GxF, though members of the other parties, PP, PSOE and Compromís, abstained.

Other measures
One measure that got cross-party support was a GxF proposal to join a pact with a Mallorca-based transport consortium for an integrated system of tariffs. Likewise, the assembly was united in giving the go-ahead to an expansion of low-voltage power lines serving Recó de la Llenya, sa Miranda and Can Simonet. “Yes” votes from GxF party members guaranteed the success of a move to block the findings of an impact study, piloted by a group called Plaça de Sant Ferran, of a plot in Sant Ferran. Thanks to backing from GxF and PP, and despite abstaining votes from PSOE and Compromís, definitive approval came for a detailed study of work on avinguda Joan Castelló Guasch. A proposal to standardise and regulate business hours and live entertainment was backed by GxF and Compromís members of the plenary, while other party representatives abstained. The fate of a PP proposal concerning standardising tourist holiday rentals at multi-family homes in urban areas was sealed by “no” votes from GxF and PSOE party members. Meanwhile unanimous backing was secured by a measure from socialists in the assembly to create signage at all pedestrian crossings in school zones across Sant Francesc.

Progress report
Councillor Susana Labrador, who took the floor to give a report on action in her departments, started by reminding plenary members that her function is to “promote and lead projects related to culture, heritage and education on the island within the standards of the administration's team of senior councillors”.

Labrador gave an overview of her offices' work in 2017. She focused on four efforts in particular:

Disinterment at the Sant Ferran cemetery last November, aimed at locating the remains of five individuals gunned down by pro-Franco forces during the Spanish Civil War. The victims were murdered on March 1, 1937 behind the cemetery walls.

The efforts were headed up by Fòrum per la Memòria d'Eivissa i Formentera and paid for by the Govern and Formentera Council.

Start of la Mola lighthouse remodel, an effort linked to a museographic project in the same space. Crews will equip the monument with an interpretive centre about local lighthouses, a museographic collection focussed on the island's maritime heritage and a multipurpose room for cultural events.

Building permit for Sant Ferran's primary and nursery schools. Thanks to painstaking efforts of the local departments of patrimony and land, the administration's flagship project appears closer than ever. Additional progress is due to the hard work of the Council's legal experts and Ibisec advisors, which made next month's tweaking of municipal regulations possible.

Lastly, the recently-opened reading space in Sant Ferran. Part of an effort to revitalise culture and leisure activities in town, the library outlet has three separate spaces: a section for adults, a kids' area and a computer lab with Internet access.

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