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Formentera urges Govern to facilitate simple, flat-rate PCR testing

In a letter sent today from Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer to Balearic premiere Francina Armengol, the island’s leader in chief voiced concern over a nascent global trend, witnessed in countries like UK and Italy, towards requiring travellers from Spain to quarantine or perform similar measures, along with the toll such policies stand to take on tourism.

“From day one we’ve been calling for discussions to build worldwide consensus around a system of safe mobility”, said President Ferrer, who said such a move would afford “mutual protection” between countries.

Given such consensus has yet to materialise and in view of the growing list of countries which have applied restrictions to individuals travelling from Spain, Ferrer proposed a response which, “in addition to keeping us safe from covid-19, keeps Spain competitive with other markets”. Among the measures put forth by the president, one in particular is key, and accounts for the recent impulse among visitors’ home countries to oblige returning travellers to submit to testing or face mandatory quarantines. Ferrer trumpeted the idea of facilitating quick, easy and price-fixed PCR testing for all tourists preparing to return to their home countries. “It would guarantee that insurmountable obstacles don’t get in the way of travellers keen to visit our island”, she said.

Ferrer added that such a testing scheme, if applied nationwide to all visitors to the Balearics, would mean perfecting the idea of “safe corridors”, based on partner countries’ commitment to facilitate safe arrivals for travellers who’ve already been PCR tested or, failing that, submitting them to testing on their return. “We could then focus our efforts on becoming a truly safe destination for global and domestic tourism”, she said.

14 August 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Abandoned cats

cartell som gatsThe Formentera government wishes to raise public raise awareness around the growing number of abandoned cats on the island. Recent weeks have come with numerous discoveries of litters of cats left in rubbish bins. The Consell de Formentera reminds islanders that it is illegal to abandon animals and pet owners who no longer want their animals can contact the Consell’s veterinary service. Fines for abandoning animals vary from €30 to €15,000.

For more information, call 971 32 10 87 (ext. 3164) or email veterinari@conselldeformentera.cat.

3 August 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Plenary participants press Madrid to seek consensus around domestic and international guarantees on travellers’ health safety

foto 2020 ple juliolA number of proposals got the green-light when members of the Consell de Formentera gathered today for the July full-house assembly: one in particular, brought to the floor by Sa Unió party members and brokered by the GxF-PSOE senior cabinet, calls on the national government to “work toward consensus on international agreements” to control the movements of covid-19 patients before they leave countries of origin and to establish a country- and worldwide system to monitor individuals’ infection status. Guarantees on the reimbursement of costs generated by foreigners required to self-isolate will also be necessary, plenary participants asserted, as well as a cap on the price of coronavirus testing.

Consell president Alejandra Ferrer described the goal as “nation- and worldwide consensus around public health safety for travel within Europe”. “Let there be no mistake, the problem is enormously complex”, she said. “That’s exactly why we’re calling for conversations and consensus at the European level”, continued Ferrer, who said that such an approach could offer “a fix that strikes a balance between public health and the reopening of tourism”.

Assembly members additionally advocated respect for and guarantees on local authorities’ autonomy in managing finances, and agreed to push the central government to remove barriers to funnelling budget surpluses into covid-19 response strategies. “There have been many cases in which local administrations have had to take on responsibilities that aren’t theirs”, tax office chief Bartomeu Escandell pointed out, “often without the corresponding funding from regional and national authorities”, he said.

Broadening protections around La Mola windmill
With “yes” votes from the senior cabinet and the abstention of the opposition, support came for a proposal to expand protections around Molí Vell de la Mola after a recommendation by Institut d’Estudis Eivissencs. Highlighting the input received around the motion to class the “Old La Mola Windmill” as a cultural interest site, patrimony consellera Raquel Guasch held that the safeguards being envisioned, “which can be applied to other sites in the Balearics, are more innovative, and fit more closely with the actual physical layout of the monument”.

Under a second Sa Unió-authored proposal that gained approval after handling by the GxF-PSOE cabinet, the Consell will study the possibility of implementing virtual appointments at the bureau of vehicle roadworthiness tests (ITV), Citizen Information Office and other services.

Cross-party support materialised around the terms of a partnership between the Consell and the Formentera Association for Audiovisual Culture (ACAF) on content production in 2020 for Ràdio Illa public radio. Culture consellera Susana Labrador seized the opportunity to underscore ACAF’s “selfless work to make local radio a reality” and applauded “the efforts of the station’s professional staff to keep islanders informed, particularly during lockdown”.

Report from Consellera Raquel Guasch
Chief of the departments of heritage, language policies and training, Raquel Guasch, stood before the assembly to take stock of efforts her first year in office. She began by saluting the work of department staff and trumpeting “the crucial role of heritage preservation”, stressing its its “social and practical importance” and asserting, “Heritage means nothing if people don’t make use of it”.

“Tangible and intangible heritage are engines of education, enjoyment and social, economic and cultural growth”, said Guasch, “and they need to interact with people”. Looking back over the last twelve months, she extolled fresh energy injected into new classifications of cultural interest sites (BICs); promotion of and education around the Formentera’s underwater and terrestrial heritage, which includes recent discoveries; creation of the first local roads catalogue; more than 350 students signed up for Catalan courses and new tactics to normalise use of the Catalan language, including the Apunts en net initiative; revision of local place names; progress on a framework document for the Formentera museum, and collaboration around the Committee for Memory and Democracy and the Committee for Disappeared Persons and Mass Graves.

31 July 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

First look at natural spaces management plan and committee to steer moorage regulation at S’Estany des Peix

foto 2020 xarxa natura 1Earlier today Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer, chief of the Balearic office of natural spaces and biodiversity Llorenç Mas and local environment conseller Antonio J Sanz unveiled the Formentera Xarxa Natura 2000 management plan and the committee that will monitor the effort to regulate moorage at S’Estany des Peix.

All told, the management plan covers a surface area of 8,518.49 hectares and five micro-territories classed as natural spaces in Xarxa Natura 2000: La Mola and Cap de Barbaria (terrestrial and maritime) and Cala Saona and Migjorn and Ses Platgetes beaches (maritime only). Twelve distinct special-interest habitats can be found in the zones in question, and five of them are considered priority.

“Formentera’s commitment to environmental sustainability is long-standing”, insisted Ferrer, “and this plan constitutes clear progress on that path”. She quipped that the management strategy was “all the more important because it means effective protection for each one of the undersea environments on Formentera’s coast”, and indicated that the local and regional governments were working to come up with a scheme to regulate moorage across Formentera’s coastline.

Ferrer added that the search for a contractor to pilot the scheme would be “crucial to regulating this protected local heritage site”.

In an effort to promote conservation, the plan’s architects propose not just regulating how people use the areas in question, but also specific safeguards to protect habitats and the animals that call them home, like monitoring human impact on species such as the bottlenose dolphin and loggerhead sea turtle.

Regulating S’Estany des Peix
Conseller Sanz affirmed that the Spanish coastal agency had delegated authority to manage and regulate watercraft moorage at S’Estany des Peix to the Consell de Formentera—a 15-year mandate open to renewal at term.

The Consell and Govern decided last year to pursue the joint initiative, which will involve equipping S’Estany des Peix with 285 moorage points (207 environmentally-friendly, 78 located on floating pontoons). It also means agreeing on which activities are permitted at the lake, and will include provisions for cleaning.

Conseller Sanz called the news “exciting” and said it marked a double breakthrough as far as protection for land and undersea areas is concerned. “We’re seeing the comeback of an iconic project that had run temporarily aground”, he said, “not to mention the renewed prospect of a balanced ecosystem and the return of uses which islanders have historically given the lake”.

With an equal number of Consell and Govern staff, the six-member monitoring committee met for the first time following the press conference and began work on a management timeline. Reasoning that Formentera’s government was the administration closest to the area in question, Sanz asserted both Consell and Govern were working together and coordinating to ensure that management would fall to local authorities.

Per the terms of a bi-lateral deal, the Consell will come up with a proposal to regulate use that includes minimum requirements before a vessel can moor at the lake. The proposal must also establish backstops to guarantee environmental safeguards and respect for traditional uses of S’Estany des Peix.

The Govern, for its part, will be responsible for monitoring the impact of associated infrastructure on flora, fauna and the surrounding area. It will also oversee, with support from the Consell, habitat conservation and recovery projects. Funding for the project to the tune of €652,154 was made possible by the Impost de Turisme Sostenible (Sustainable Tourism Levy).

28 July 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell celebrates Formentera Local Police officers’ completion of training

foto 2020 diplomes policia localConsell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer and Balearic minister of public administrations and modernisation Isabel Castro took part today in a ceremony to award accreditation to three law enforcement agents from Formentera and one from the Eivissa town of Sant Joan who successfully completed a training initiative. Known as the “quarantine course”, the programme was unable to unfold according to initial plans due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Additional attendees included the head of the regional emergencies office, Jaume Barceló; Formentera interior conseller Josep Marí; Balearic School of Public Administration (EBAP) director Mercedes Riera; chief of local police Fèlix Ramos and other figures of authority.

Highlighting collaboration between local and regional governments as “fundamental”, President Ferrer held up further coordination as “pivotal to filling the gaps in our force and ensuring proper provision of this essential service, particularly given our local law enforcement’s proximity to islanders and amid situations like the one we’ve seen in recent months”. “We’ll continue working to achieve the police force that Formentera needs”, said Ferrer, “with the number of officers we need, and with the stability and training opportunities that are needed as well.”

Housing and travel grants
Ms Castro indicated that two of the 29 officers currently in basic local police training are from Formentera, and that, considering the course is being held off the island, those students are eligible for up to €1,215 in housing and travel subsidies from the EBAP.

Castro affirmed that both the Govern balear and EBAP were “sensitive to the enormous sacrifice that far-from-home trainees must make in order become public servants”. “I imagine no one understands that sacrifice quite so much as our two Formentera officers”, she said. Participants in the 41st basic training course at EBAP Mallorca also include 18 officers from Eivissa, nine from Menorca and seven from Mallorca.

28 July 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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