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La Mola gets pilot programme to curb snake population

Foto reunio serpsAt eight yesterday evening in the Casa del Poble community centre of la Mola, Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, environment councillor Daisee Aguilera and the regional minister of the Govern Balear, Vicenç Vidal, met to unveil information on a new push to control numbers of snakes on the island, a joint campaign led by the CiF and the administration in Palma.

According to Councillor Aguilera, since April 29 eighteen cages built by students at Eivissa's school of art and artisanry have been set up around the island. With 20 snakes nabbed, Aguilera assured the traps were already proving their worth. Another five traps will be installed today, though if necessary that number could increase to 100. Aguilera indicated that so far efforts have focused on la Mola, the most affected area on the island, but said other traps would be laid elsewhere to establish the full scope of the snakes' spread. She enlisted the entire island to help keep numbers under control, directing residents who see snakes to “report it to the Office of Environment.”

As Minister Vidal pointed out, this species of snakes is invasive on Formentera and, in his words, “a threat to our local biodiversity”. Nevertheless, he assured residents there was no reason to panic. According to Vidal, the species targeted —Rhinechis scalaris—, “poses no threat to people.” As a problem affecting both Formentera and Eivissa, the climbing snake numbers received the attention of the Govern Balear, which is leading the current charge. The officials also identified another objective: preventing the arrival of new snakes, which generally come as stowaways on ornamental olive trees shipped from the mainland.

Formentera Half Marathon welcomes 2,600 runners

mitjamaratóAlongside a team of sponsors, organisers and staff from his own department, CiF sports councillor Jordi Vidal reported this morning on the details of this weekend's eighth annual Formentera Half Marathon. Staff specialist Daniel de la Dueña and two representatives from sponsor organisations of Saturday's race, Josep Marí (Caixabank) and Nuria de la Torre (Trasmapi), were among those at a press conference.

One thousand seven hundred runners signed up for the 21km half marathon. They will gather and start from the la Mola lighthouse at 5.30pm. Another 900 will set out in Sant Ferran at the same time on the 8km circuit. On routes that cut across Es Pujols, both races will finish in la Savina. A team of 100 volunteers will help organisers ensure a smooth succession of the day's events. Traffic will be cut off from Sant Ferran to la Mola from 4.30pm; in the opposite direction, it will be blocked from 5,30pm. It will reopen in both cases at 7.30pm. The same cuts will occur simultaneously along the la Savina-Es Pujols-Sant Ferran road.

Remarking on the enormous popularity of the marathon, Councillor Vidal noted safety was behind a cap on registration. He took the opportunity to applaud organisers and participants alike on what he hoped would be a great chance to experience the island. Vidal also thanked the marathon's sponsors and body of volunteers and public safety officers for making the event a reality.

Local representatives vote to ditch non-inclusive architecture, finance play area improvements

Foto consell entitatsYesterday evening Formentera's board of community representatives convened its second session on participatory budgets, ultimately settling on two projects (from the 12 originally proposed) to entrust to the Formentera Council this year. One 100,000-euro project to eliminate architectural barriers,

The first initiative proposed employing €100,000 to eliminate architectural barriers on the island. The second, with a budget of €150,000, promised improvements at school play areas and parks for children. Both of them were the most popular among the 33 associations and four political parties that took part in the vote.

This is the first time the Formentera Council and the Consell d'Entitats implement participatory budgets. As the CiF's councillor of community involvement, Sònia Cardona, put it, “the initiative is aimed at engaging the people of Formentera in the participatory process”. She took the opportunity last night to thank islanders and associations for their efforts, which she said were key to the initiative's success. “This vote —and the fact that Formenterencs chose to support inclusive architecture and children— speaks very highly of our residents. We are thrilled.”

The participatory projects were assigned a total budget of €250,000. From today, the associated Council offices will begin working to make both of them a reality in 2016. The representatives of the 63 associations that comprise the Consell d'Entitats were invited to the two budget sessions.

Following a session dedicated to explanations of the 12 initial proposals, yesterday's gathering served to establish the two most popular measures. Associations voted on the two projects they thought were highest priority.

Council meets with Balearic veterinarians' college

Foto reunio collegi veterinarisBartomeu Escandell, the councillor of the president's office of the Formentera Council, met today with Ramón García, president of the college of veterinarians of the Balearic Islands. Escandell described the day's gathering as the first contact in what would hopefully lead to cooperation between the two groups. The goal behind the partnership, said Escandell, is to push for animal welfare and, in so doing, for public health in general. The councillor also spoke to the veterinarians about Formentera's project to revive the island's farming sector. 

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