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First stage of harbour upgrades set to begin in November

Visita apb 2Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer met today with Balearic port authority chief Joan Gual de Torrella at the Casa del Mar building in la Savina. Bartomeu Escandell and Rafael González, the secretaries of the president's office and infrastructure, respectively, were joined by other officials and staff specialists from both administrations.

Gual de Torrella announced the first phase of upgrades the la Savina port would start in November and be completed before next summer. The initial part of the undertaking, which will include improvements on car parks north of la Savina's port, where the lighthouse is located, will optimise the flow of passengers and vehicles through the harbour. The project also involves upgrades of roads and pedestrian zones in the port's service areas. The winning bid put the project's estimated cost at €599,811 before taxes.

According to the port authority chief, improvements are also planned for the fisherman's wharf, including modernising the crown wall and asphalting the wharf, during those same dates. Together, the two projects are expected to cost €457,154 and €137,187, respectively.

Looking ahead, Gual de Torrella pointed to November 2018 plans for part two of the upgrades: the la Savina waterfront. Specialists and senior officials from the Council and the port spoke today about what those projects would look like.

For his part, President Ferrer welcomed both the news of the November start date and the projected pre-summer completion, which, he noted, the Council had initially requested. Ferrer applauded the Balearic port agency for seeking the Council's buy-in on the harbour upgrades, “a sign of respect for the ideas that our Council and our neighbours have for la Savina and for the island”.

In plenary, Council OKs regulatory code tweak to pave way for new school build in Sant Ferran

Foto ple setembre 2017Today saw members of the Formentera Council gather for the administration's September plenary session. Attendees united behind a proposal to modify Formentera's land directive (normes subsidiàries) governing the way historical areas are classified in Sant Francesc Xavier, Sant Ferran de ses Roques and el Pilar de la Mola.

Land secretary Alejandra Ferrer put the regulatory tweak in the context of ruling 57/2014, handed down by the high court of the Balearic Islands, which found demarcations on Formentera had not been sufficiently substantiated and proper legal channels had not been used. “The rationale we've provided is today more in-depth and specific to each area of protection,” said Ferrer, who indicated that justification was increased even for the decision not to give certain areas the historical distinction. “The only change,” Ferrer pointed out, “happened at Ca Ses Castellones, a lot which is now protected”.

Ferrer celebrated the measure, which lifts the freeze put on historical centres and puts ruling party priorities, like building Sant Ferran's two new schools, on track for completion.

Councillor Ferrer stressed that although the report from the Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB) patrimony department endorses redrawing the lines of those historic areas, it recommends special plans to safeguard heritage sites. The Offices of Land and Patrimony have begun drawing them up.

Sustainable tourism tax
Plenary members acted collectively to support raising the “sustainable tourism tax,” or impost de turisme sostenible, during off season months. The proposal puts pressure on the Govern balear study full payout in winter for islands with particularly seasonal economies. It urges consideration for defining the “low season” as October 1 to May 1 and making the tweaks required to cap the tourist tax during non-summer months.

Jobs catalogue
Another measure that got the go-ahead of all parties was a proposed catalogue of employment offers. Council and union representatives would partner to create a directory of job offers, el Catàleg de Llocs de Treball, that includes conditions of employment, qualities of ideal candidates and job descriptions.

For two weeks, the employment office of the Balearic Islands, or BOIB, will field requests from parties interested in the initiative. A related post can be found on the BOIB website.

Human resources secretary Vanessa Parellada pledged to continue working with the Council's legal teams to study incorporating new administrative guidelines for the project. She also identified the jobs catalogue's new home: the Formentera Council's own Portal de Transparència.

Despite a “no” vote from the PP, the session brought approval for a partnership with the regional department of social services and cooperation related to providing daytime care for dependent individuals during two-year periods.

Unity was struck on two proposals from Compromís—one related to road and traffic signs and another on the complement de residència (residency supplement) of public employees. Another measure that passed despite the “no” vote of the PP was a PSOE proposal on salary models and a new earnings agreement. The socialists secured unanimity behind a proposal on recording plenary proceedings.

Emissions tests
Lastly, the PP presented an urgent motion related to the emissions testing service. Last week, test appointments were postponed when the service's mechanic took leave. Tests were rescheduled from October 16, when he returns to work. Infrastructure and mobility secretary Rafael González has said that a new position will be created in 2018 to safeguard against future occurrences of the same circumstance.

Report before the plenary
Today's session included a report from Secretary González on his departments' overarching priority: “Making these three offices work for sustainability and improving islanders' quality of life”.

Pointing to concrete steps González's departments have taken, the secretary highlighted the creation of a network of nature trails, dubbed Rutes Verdes, and this year's pilot programme to restrict vehicle access to Es Cap de Barbaria lighthouse.

In quality of life improvements, González stressed “upgrades that make for more peaceful urban centres, vibrant local trade and mobility options for everyone”. “We've built new facilities and overhauled existing ones,” said the secretary, and pointed to projects still on the horizon—“a funeral parlour, upgrades at la Mola lighthouse and a new nautical sports centre”.

González described one core priority as maintaining and improving local roads.

The secretary said his offices' aim to improve islanders' day-to-day life, pointing out initiatives like the Council's online portal: “Today, at every resident and visitor's fingertips there is both updated information about, and a direct line of communication with, the Formentera Council.”

Finally, González referred to the administration's planned support for the island's football club, SD Formentera, as they prepare to take on Bilbao in the round of 32 on October 25 for the Copa del Rey. González said the stadium will be set up to receive three thousand.

He also described renewed plans to upgrade the stadium's lighting using material acquired last year. The secretary promised a large press area to accommodate the connection needs of media in attendance at the match. Plans, said González, include dusting off two past initiatives: a safety directive and a special plan to provide additional transport. The transport plan includes:

-Restricting traffic flow to one direction along the asphalted portion of camí Vell de la Mola
-Residents- and organisers-only vehicle access
-Foot access to general public from Sant Francesc
-Shuttle bus services for people with special needs
-Shuttle bus services from la Savina port to Sant Francesc roundabout

González mentioned one last thing: “The weekends before and after October 25, SD Formentera will play home games against two former first-division teams, Hercules CF and RCD Mallorca. Given previsions for high fan turnout and the many requests already received by visiting teams, the Council is looking into keeping part of the Copa del Rey facilities in place for these other events”.

Supreme Court calls Formentera regulatory code 'sound'

Foto rp sentencia punta primaCiF president Jaume Ferrer was joined by his deputy vice-president and secretary of the cabinet, finance and rural affairs, Bartomeu Escandell, today as the two reported on the judgment of the Supreme Court dated 11 September 2017, which dismissed the appeal in the words of the president "confirms that the Subsidiary Rules approved in 2010 are sound, in an environmentally friendly way, and in defense of the general interest of Formentera."

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal brought by Sunway SL against the judgment of the High Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands, dated 8 July 2014, against the agreement of the Formentera Council plenary, adopted in session of September 30, 2010, which brought definitive approval for the island's normes subsidiàries, or “subsidiary rules”.

The president explained that once the sentence was received and the legal advisers consulted, "the opinion of the High Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands affirmed that the Consell's action was correct and now it is the Supreme Court that re-affirms the same".

Jaume Ferrer stressed that the Consell always took into account the defense of the general interest when drafting the Subsidiary Rules and also explained that "the Supreme Court has also argued that the rules, according to the ruling, have not removed any right to the entity Sunway SL, since the fact of being urban does not imply associated building right".

Formentera lifeguards' first 'torxada'

Foto socorristesThe lifeguard service of the Formentera Council wishes to announce that Sunday, September 17 at 6.30pm, the island's coastal caretakers will meet on Es Pujols beach for the team's first ever torxada. The evening of cameraderie will see the lifeguards putting their swimming, towing and racing skills to the test, along with other good, clean fun. At sundown, they'll take to the water, equipped with flaming torxes (“torches”).

Team chief Marco Antonio Lage says it's about “coming together as a team as we prepare to say our first goodbyes to those leaving already”. The whole island, says Lage, is encouraged “to check out the spectacle, and get to know our service a little better”.

High season for Formentera's beach rescue service extends from June 15 to September 15. During that period, the service employs 24 lifeguards to hold watch over the island's waters and ensure swimmer safety. Beaches are patrolled May 1 to October 31. September 15-30, there are 15 lifeguards to surveil Formentera's coastline; September 30-October 31, a group of 10 remain at the season's close, as at its start.

Formentera ramps up fishing patrols

rsz raorIn an statement issued this morning, the CiF president's office announced the start last weekend of intensified patrols to tackle fishing of the pearly razorfish, or raor in Catalan. Surveillance by boat, land and, for the first time this year, drones is being deployed in the crackdown.

From Friday to Sunday, surveillance crews of the Formentera Council teamed up with agents of Els Freus Marine Reserve to educate fishermen about the rules that govern raor fishing and the areas in which its capture is permitted. According to Bartomeu Escandell, secretary of the president's office and the rural affairs department, the administration's inspector has already issued two pleasure boats citations for fishing in areas where it is prohibited.

Escandell pointed out that catches of raor are capped at fifty, per person per day, and the daily per-boat limit is three hundred. Fishing prohibitions enter into force from April 1 to August 31 as a way to ensure female fish have sufficient time to spawn.

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