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Formentera requests meeting with Govern to discuss housing shortage

Simulacio final obra HPOEarlier today, the CiF office of tourism posted a letter to the Balearic minister of urbanism, energy and transport, Joan Boned, calling for the creation on Formentera of a local branch of the Institut Balear de l’Habitatge – the Balearic housing institute – and urging a search for solutions to the problems plaguing homeseekers on the island. In the missive, councillor of territory Alejandra Ferrer requested a meeting with her opposite number in Palma as a first step in tackling «one of the greatest challenges faced today on Formentera: the shortage of available housing».

In her letter, Councillor Ferrer referred to the low-cost housing project backed by the Govern Balear – currently under construction in Sant Ferran – though predicted that project’s failure to meet the existing demand. She also spoke of the Formentera Council’s project to regulate tourist rentals of residential homes and the administration’s goal «of distinguishing between tourist and non-tourist rentals, thus increasing the supply of dwellings available for year-round rental».

Ferrer also commented on recent rumours the Govern Balear was working on an initiative which would «penalise or reward homeowners depending on the type of property they have» and additional talk about the possibility of «hammering out deals with different financial institutions to establish a stock of some 70-100 housing units that the Institut Balear could use for residents in need».

But, Ferrer noted, «the number of apartments owned by banks are limited, as are dwellings that remain unoccupied year round». For the urbanism councillor, the problem remains that for many property owners, the attractiveness of housing speculation and rental during the high-season months outweighs the fear of non-paying tenants and dealing with evictions. The obstacle, she says, is sometimes quite simply a lack of information. «Worse yet», Ferrer added, «people looking for homes have no idea where to turn for information, nor do any associations exist that give counsel on loans or other available assistance».

For Councillor Ferrer, all those factors make the presence of the Institut Balear de l’Habitatge – and the counsel and orientation such an office could provide to Formentera’s homeseeking population – a necessity.

Emergency code system in place at 3,300 rural homes

rp plaques premsaThe Formentera Council's office of the presidential cabinet — l'àrea de Presidència — has announced today the end of the first phase of the project to equip homes at remote areas of the island with emergency codes. Councillor of the presidential cabinet, Bartomeu Escandell, said that during this first stage, which began in March, CiF technicians installed 3,300 GPS-equipped plaques at rural Formentera homes so they could be easily-located in case of emergency.

Xavier Vila, director of the company in charge of the project, reached out to Formentera residents and asked all those who haven't yet obtained their plaque to visit the Citizen Information Office (l'OAC) in person, send an email to consell@conselldeformentera.cat or call 971321087 and request one from Formentera Council services.

Geolocation of places of interest
Technicians have now begun the second phase of the project, whose completion is expected sometime in November. As Escandell remarked: «The current phase consists of the installation of roughly 1,000 of the same plaques at roadsides, beaches and other places of interest across the island».

The third stage of the project — application of the tracking system — will take place this winter. According to Escandell, the Council will now carry on to the installation of navigation devices in Council and emergency vehicles and implementation of an initial test period. The councillor commented the purpose of the project is to make for a safer Formentera, saying: «Our goal is to respond as fast as possible to any incident or emergency that might occur at homes or public places on the island».

Jocs de nens. Craft workers of Formentera put on show at Centre Gabrielet

Jocs de nens premsaJocs de nens (translatable as 'child's play' in English) is an exhibition comprising work by Formentera's collective of artisan workers and two local groups in support of artisanry, Associació Formentera per l'Artesania and Associació Artesans Fira de la Mola. The group effort is on public display through 20 October in the exhibition hall of the Centre Antoni Tur Gabrielet.

The pieces that make up the exhibition come from 17 different local craftmakers, including jewellers Xènia, Tito Solari, Lorenzo Pepe, Otis, Neus Betrau and Flor Mauger; clothing makers Simona Colzi, Tete Silbera and Carola Yuste; and craftswoman Olga López, whose textile pieces are all made in situ in her period studio. Paintings from Fran Lucas, Jordi Torrents and Oriol Moragrega are displayed next to glasswork pieces from María Sol and Gennaro Pepe, and the sculpted work of Enric Rissech is contrasted alongside handmade brainteasers made by Sergio Guzmán.

The common thread that links the different pieces? «Each one was handmade by an inner child. There is fantasy present in all of them». So explains participating artist Olga López. The exhibition can be visited 10:30 am-2 pm and 5:30-8:30pm, Monday through Saturday.

Some 200 athletes to lace up for Saturday’s triathlon

Presentacio triatlo premsaIn a press conference held earlier today, representatives of the Formentera Council’s office of sport gave residents advance warning about the excitement set to sweep through the town of Es Pujols this Saturday: the third annual Triatló Illa de Formentera, the island’s own triathlon. As councillor of sport Jordi Vidal reported, the event dovetails with this month’s Descobreix Formentera a l’octubre (Discover Formentera in October) publicity campaign, which aims to promote a different, active brand of tourism. «What we want», explained Vidal, «is for Formentera’s visitors to enjoy everything the island has to offer in the low season too – both May and October».

Road closures from 2-6:30pm
The councillor took the opportunity to apologise to residents and tourists alike for the traffic interruptions to occur as a result of the trial on Saturday. From two to half past six in the evening, the flow of traffic will be cut from carrer Espalmador in Es Pujols to Sa Sequi restaurant on the Es Pujols-la Savina road.    

Athletes given till Saturday to sign up
A total of 200 athletes will participate, according to Manuel Hernández, director general of Unisport Consulting, the company that has coordinated organisation for the event. Citing the 168 names already registered, Hernández shared his hope that «last-minute registrations on Saturday bring that number to 200». From half past nine in the morning till half past one at midday, hopeful triathletes can sign up at the tent that will be erected at Es Pujol’s plaça d’Europa. Plaça d’Europa will also be the distribution point for number shirts for anyone else participating in the triathlon.

Triathlon stats
The CiF sports office staff specialist Daniel de la Dueña explained the choice of modalities available to participants – Sprint or Olímpica – and noted that a participant’s selection of the latter meant trials would be completed in teams. Three different disciplines are included in Saturday’s Triatló: swimming, cycling and running, in that order. De la Dueña pointed out that distances at the triathlon depend on a participant’s desired modality, but that the circuits used do not change; a triathlete will simply adjust the number of laps he completes according whether he has chosen Sprint or Olímpica.

For Sprint, distances are 750 metres swimming, 20 kilometres cycling and 5 km running, and for Olímpica, they are broken down as 1,500 m, 40 km and 10 km. Those triathletes competing as members of a team will follow Sprint distances. Sprint and team participants leave their starting blocks at 3:30pm, with completion expected within an hour. At 4:30pm the whistle will be blown to start the Olímpica modality, with final participants expected to have completed the last trials within the next three hours. More information can be found on the triatlonformentera.com website.

Núria de la Torre, a representative of sponsoring-company Trasmapi, expressed her hope that more events like the Triatló would be organised by the Formentera Council in the future. She reminded residents and triathletes of the discounts Trasmapi offers to participants and anyone else travelling in their company, and highlighted the additional support her company provides in the transport of volunteers and material for the event.

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