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Formentera becomes first island to pass guidelines for tourist use of private homes

aperitiu ple2This morning, in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council, representatives of local political groups came together to celebrate the March plenary session. Of particular importance at the morning assembly: definitive and unanimous ratification of a set of guidelines (labelled 'reglament 1/2015') intended to regulate the commercialisation of home rentals for tourists.

According to Alejandra Ferrer, councillor of tourism, trade and transport, the code of regulations serves two different purposes: “For one, ensure that homes being rented adhere to a set of established criteria. And second, for those dwellings currently rented for tourist-use but which for whatever reason cannot receive authorisation under the new law and guidelines, augment the supply of homes available to rent on a year-round basis”.

Receiving the 'yes' vote of the government coalition (Gent per Formentera and Partido Socialista) and GUIF but abstention from Partido Popular, another measure that saw approval was a call to reject aggressive methods of treatment and control for the pine processionary caterpillar. As environmental councillor Silvia Tur explained, the measure was conceived as part of an effort to block “fumigation with diflubenzuron or any other aggressive action that lacks the support of the Formentera Council and residents”.

Tur reported that technical assessments have placed the gravity of the current pine processionary caterpillar plague between zero and one on a five-point scale, “which means that such aggressive action is certainly uncalled for”. The councillor reminded plenary attendees that, according to European Union directives in place, fumigation should be avoided whenever other options are available”.

Both receiving unanimous 'yes' votes, two more motions were made official at the plenary: acceptance of ownership of the Formentera Day Centre facilities and the initial approval of a directive on the management of cultural heritage sites, known as II Pla insular de gestió del patrimoni cultural de Formentera.

Representatives at the FiC plenary were called on to make a rush decision regarding public tender of four different tracts of hammocks, still unclaimed after an initial call for bids. Silvia Tur explained that the allotments had remained undesignated because the necessary permits weren't delivered from the Balearic coastal authority until 23 March, which made necessary the rush treatment of the measure.

Responding to queries from the PP and GUIF, Councillor Tur explained: “The Es Caló beach bar has not been put up for tender nor is it going to be this summer”. This decision was due to “neighbour complaints concerning activity at the quiosc”

Neighbour complaints concerning activity at the Es Caló quiosc and a desire to “ensure that a similar situation is not repeated” mean the Council will “plan carefully before another bid is accepted”.

Plenary attendees also voted unanimously to ratify the Council's declaration of adherence to 8 March, International Day of the Working Woman.

Report by Santi Juan

Councillor of infrastructure, agriculture, livestock, fishing and hunting, Santi Juan, stood before the plenary to report on his offices' work over the past year.

In infrastructure, Councillor Juan called to mind road improvements along the es Cap de Barbaria highway and in la Savina along Avinguda Mediterrània, carrer de sa Màquina (sa Màquina road) and carrer de s'Estany (s'Estany road).

Speaking of his office's work in local agriculture, Juan affirmed, “we've started down what I hope will be a long road”, alluding to the administration's work restoring activity in the island's rural zones and natural landscapes. Councillor Juan referenced the work that has been done to re-form the Farmers' Cooperative, the untilled land use project and the construction of the new industrial space for the Farmers' Cooperative.

GUIF spokesman Javi Serra was critical of the Council's management of fishing and cited the need for increased inspections while Jesús Villar of the Partido Popular alleged technical problems that required attention, such as “the asphalting of the main highway and manoeuvrability around the roundabouts”.

Communiqué: Govern Balear chooses to ignore Formentera Council

The Council of Formentera wishes to make known its consternation in light of a recent display of incivility by the Govern Balear. The Bauzà administration, in its scheduling of a trip by the community president to Formentera, neglected to invite a single member of the local administration to any of the president's planned activities.

Such behaviour is all the more troubling considering Formentera Council is an active participant in the current projects to bestow Sant Ferran with government housing and a new school. Our island council purchased and then ceded to the Govern the land for these projects, and deserved to be present at any corollary gatherings.

It is worth noting that Eivissa Council representatives and members of other Eivissa town councils were themselves asked to attend the events scheduled as part of Bauzà's visit to that island today.

Cap de Barbaria II archaeological ruins restored

jaciment escap1From 9 to 20 March restorative efforts were carried out on areas six and seven of the Cap de Barbaria dig site. The parcels lie at the northwest corner of the site, left partially-excavated after initial digs in the Eighties. This year new surveys of the terrain have already taken place, as part of the fourth phase of fieldwork for a study entitled “Les comunitats prehistòriques de Formentera. Arqueologia, patrimoni i societat” and directed collectively by Pau Sureda (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Edagard Camarós (Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social), María Ana Cueto and Luís Teira (of the Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Prehistóricas de Cantabria – Universidad de Cantabria).

Restoration and solidification efforts were carried out by a three-person team that comprised Margalida Munar, Bernat Burganya and Antoni Puig. Cleaning, maintenance and preservation of this and other archaeological sites – funded in part by the cultural office of the Formentera Council – is postulated in the local directive that deals with the management of sites which factor into Formentera's cultural heritage, el Pla insular de gestió del patrimoni cultural.

Assistance notwithstanding, the project has taken place under the full direction of the team of scientists mentioned above, but one portion of the work programmed for this – the fourth stage – of fieldwork in the tri-university study. The study has, as of today's date, received favourable reports from two different FiC entities – the Comissió Específica d'Arqueologia as well as from the government commission convened to this effect.

The exact work consisted in the repair and strengthening of the rock foundation at areas six and seven of Cap de Barbaria II, repositioning mislaid stones, filling in incomplete segments of wall with smaller stones from elsewhere on the site, solidification of inner structures using lime mortar, gradation of the floor at the site's interior. The project had a total budget of 4,447 euros.

Unanimous vote to appeal certain aspects of regional agrarian bill on grounds of unconstitutionality

extraord llei agrariaIn a one-off plenary session held this morning in the FiC plenary hall, participants voted unanimously to challenge a recently-approved farming bill before Spain's constitutional court. The Council's proposed case challenges the legality of specific portions of the Llei agrària de les Illes Balears ('the agrarian bill of the Balearic Islands'), a measure ratified 16 December of last year, on the grounds that it challenges the autonomy guaranteed to Formentera.

These claims “were already put forth in August and September during the draft (avantprojecte and projecte de Llei) phases of the law, in respect of the official channels,” explained Santi Juan, councillor of agriculture, livestock and fishing of the Formentera Council. Before adding, “at that time they were not heeded”.

During the morning plenary, FiC secretary Àngel Navarro detailed what he said were the two principal legal arguments behind the rejection of the farming bill.

The first of these concerns local civil law on Eivissa and Formentera. According to Navarro: “[The bill] fails to recognise Formentera's traditional system of stewarded farming as the traditional farming contract”. As chance would have it, Navarro says, the bill does recognise the system traditionally in use in Menorca – known as societat rural menorquina.

According the secretary, the llei agrària also fails to take into account the role of tornalls – “a unit of measurement which exists on farms in Eivissa and Formentera that is altogether unique to the particular territorial and psychological reality in the Pitiüses”. Instead, the bill uses the unit of measurement known as the quarterada – “a standard in Mallorcan agrarian law”.

The bill also would appear to encroach upon the authority of the FiC as established by the sections on urbanism, tourism and town planning of the Statute of Autonomy the Balearic Islands. As Secretary Navarro explained: “The llei agrària permits and even promotes unrestricted camping on certain farming plots, completely ignoring the fact Formentera has not only prohibited the activity, it has in place a system of penalties against it.”

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