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Elías Torres wins national architecture honour

Centre antoni tur gabrieletThe Formentera Council extends its congratulations to architect Elías Torres, who received Spain's national architecture award, Premio Nacional de Arquitectura, for 2016. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport's accolade went to the Martínez Lapeña-Torres firm, which Torres shares with Tarragona native José Antonio Martínez Lapeña. The award is a celebration of the professional careers of the two men, who engineered local monuments like Jardí de ses Eres and Centre Gabrielet.

Día de la Constitución

Foto actuacio constitucioAt 11.30am today, the Formentera Council hall of ceremonies was the site of the administration's observance of Día de la Constitución. President Jaume Ferrer read an address to the crowd after which three students from the traditional music workshop at Formentera's school of music and dance —Cristian Tur, Joel Roig and Eric Roig— offered performances. In a show of thanks, President Ferrer presented each of the musicians with a gift.

Formentera Council's plenary assembly makes cross-party plea for constitutional tweaks to assign senator to island

Votacio senador propiIn a one-off plenary session convened today, members of the Formentera Council voted unanimously to petition the Balearic legislature to ask the Congress of Deputies to explicitly change article 69.3 of Spain's Constitution in order to allow Formentera to choose its own senator, separate from Eivissa's. Local lawmakers are able to pursue the effort thanks to the so-called “council law” and the Balearic Islands' Statute of Autonomy, which empowers island councils to petition Congress via mediation provided by the regional parliament.

The proposed redrafting of article 69.3 of the Spanish Constitution, which also includes substituting the “and” between “Eivissa and Formentera” for a comma, reads as follows: “In the island territories, every island with cabildo or council shall represent its own constituency requiring its own elected senator or senators. For the larger islands (Gran Canaria, Mallorca and Tenerife) these shall number three, and on Eivissa, Formentera, Fuerteventura, La Gomera, El Hierro, Lanzarote, Menorca and La Palma, one”.

The changes also entail the following: removal of the word insular from the designation of the councils (article 141.4 of the Constitution does not in fact prescribe its use), leaving the public administrations to be known simply as “councils;” alphabetised ordering of the islands in both the Balearics and the Canary Islands; and, in keeping with the Canary Islands' Statute of Autonomy, correct use of determining articles in the case of La Gomera and El Hierro.

Long-standing plea
Arguing the current request is in fact not new, president's office secretary Bartomeu Escandell pointed out that “Formentera is the only island in the country that shares a senator with another island”. The petition was first made in 2004, he said, when the plenary assembly of Formentera's local government (formerly an “ajuntament”) unanimously passed a similar motion on August 20, 2004. The call has been renewed on multiple occasions, including at a spokespersons' committee earlier this year, when members crossed party lines to back the current measure.

Escandell said the current political climate is ideal for the change to be made, noting that the two leading national parties, the Popular Party and the PSOE, agree that a constitutional rewrite is necessary. The secretary called it “a one of a kind opportunity for this broad-based and legitimate local plea”.

'Mai ets petit si els teus somnis són justos'

Mai ets petit prensaAs the island's hospital and local administration turn ten, the Formentera Council wishes to extend a special Christmas message to the people of the island: “There's no such thing as 'too small' when your aim is true,” along with the celebratory exclamation common to islanders, Molts anys i bons!

In 2017 Formentera became the site of extra special ten-year anniversary celebrations, both for the island's hospital and the Council. The Hospital de Formentera celebrated its first decade in February with an array of fun activities.

Ten years of the Formentera Council
Meanwhile, the Council has seen to its own celebrations. Since March 1 the administration's logo, which adorns official stationary and Formentera Council websites, has included the appendage “10 years” and special programming has marked the most standout moments since the Council's creation.

On March 1, a date known locally as the Day of the Balearics, the administration heralded ten years since the Balearic Islands' Autonomy Statute appeared in the Official Gazette of Spain. The freshly inked document established that the island council which had hitherto governed Formentera and Eivissa would be split into two separate entities. The previous arrangement was underpinned by the 1983 version of the same regional statute.

Another milestone occurred on July 10, 2007, forty-five days after voters took to the polls May 27 to vote for the creation of the Formentera Council. One decade later to the day, the Formentera Council commemorated the event in the conference hall of the Formentera Day Centre with some of the main players involved in the change, including former mayor Isidor Torres, former deputy Pep Mayans and current Council president Jaume Ferrer. Also on hand were some of the leading figures behind the legal operations, like the pre-2007 administration's secretary, Marta Enciso, and her current counterpart Ángel Navarro.

Though the creation of Formentera's own hospital and council was a prospect impossible for some to imagine, time was on our side. Join us in celebrating this day, a landmark in terms of services and self-determination for all of Formentera. Molts anys i bons and happy holidays!

Formentera approves Council's 2018 spending

Foto ple novembre 2017Council members gathered today for the administration's November plenary assembly, a session whose highlights included approval for the island's 2018 general budget. Vice-president and tax office secretary Bartomeu Escandell reported that a projected 12.78% spending increase would bring the total budget for the coming year to €26.9 million.

Escandell cited a more robust endowment from the region, including funding from sources like the so-called “Sustainable Tourism Tax” and the central government in Madrid. The secretary held up the administration's current zero debt load as a sign of its economic sure-footedness and proof “the Council doesn't need external funding”. “Yes” votes were cast by senior councillors and PSOE officials. Members of Compromís abstained and Popular Party officials voted “no”.

Core spending
The Formentera Council will make €4.5 million in direct investments on the island. One priority project to administer and create protections for local lake Estany des Peix will receive €400,000. Environmental safeguards aside, the budget is noteworthy for its focus on heritage site restoration. Escandell held up plans to commit €500,000 for the transformation of la Mola's lighthouse into a cultural gathering point. Money will also be set aside to get work started at Can Ramon, restore Sa Senieta and purchase heritage sites like Es Campament. Escandell pointed out that €1.1 million has been earmarked to build a nautical sports centre, “another of our administration's top priorities next year,” he said.

La Mola lighthouse
With “yes” votes from the cabinet secretaries and PSOE officials and the abstention of Compromís and PP, the assembly passed a measure to task Tragsa with the project's €765,550 execution. Crews will start in December and have nine months to complete the project, which involves rebuilding the lighthouse's ground floor and outer façade. Labrador said the changes would “rebrand the lighthouse as a cultural hub,” and promised “continued measures to protect this invaluable heritage site”.

In addition to an interpretative centre for la Mola's and other lighthouses on Formentera, the revamped ground floor will house a museographic collection on the local maritime patrimony and a multipurpose space for cultural events like exhibitions, concerts, conferences, recitals and stage productions. Besides a welcome area, toilets and storage spaces, the lighthouse will feature, at its entrance, a patio for open-air events both cultural and educational in nature. The remodel is possible thanks to an easement agreement between the administration and the Balearic port authority.

The session brought unanimous support for a measure urging regional heads of the Guardia Civil as well as the law enforcement agency's Govern delegates for Eivissa and Formentera and the Balearic department of public administration to reclassify Formentera's Guardia Civil station as “principal”.

Unqualified support was also given to a Compromís proposition to equip toilets in Council buildings with baby changing stations and put the important change at the centre of an outreach campaign directed at the private sector. The measure also urges the adoption of a similar overhaul across the Balearic government's offices on the island.

Plenary attendees were also united in approving another Compromís motion, this time to allow paperwork and formalities normally carried out in person at the Eivissa harbour master's office to be completed directly at the agency's Formentera branch. The Council, it was agreed, will urge the harbour master to dispatch an office representative to Formentera several days each month to tend to the requests of residents.

Full approval came for another Compromís measure, this one brokered by Gent per Formentera, to urge the Govern balear to equip their associated buildings with defribillators and require their presence in public places. The measure aims to assure such devices are in working order and that staff are trained in their operation. The Council will study adopting similar changes as well.

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