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Formentera presents Athletic Club with gift

Foto de grup sd for athletic clubToday at noon Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer offered a token of thanks to Athletic Club chief Josu Urrutia for the team's visit to the island. The team will go up against Formentera's football squad, SD Formentera, this afternoon as part of the King's Cup. The tin piece bears iconic local sites like a lighthouse, church, fig tree, cactus and Es Vedrà as seen from Formentera, along with an engraving on a wooden base that reads “From the island of Formentera to Athletic Club. Formentera Council. October 25, 2017”. Local craftworker Sandra Tarrago was commissioned to make the piece, which will take its place today among other items in the Basque club's collection.

The heads of SD Formentera and the Balearic Islands' federation of football teams, Xicu Ferrer and Vicent Bufí, also presented Urrutia with a commemorative plaque for his club. Later, both teams' management, Jaume Ferrer and CiF sports secretary Jordi Vidal sat down for a meal at Restaurant Es Caló.

Formentera firefighters' 2017 tally of extinguished blazes: 40

feines bomber incendi cala saona juliolOn the heels of the announcement, October 15, that the Balearic Islands had put their season of high fire risk behind them, the Formentera Council's firefighting brigade released wildfire figures for this year. From January 1 to October 15, crews tackled a total of 40 fires, two less than the same period in 2016.

“This season's star operations,” reported president's office secretary and head of interior Bartomeu Escandell, “were without a doubt the three forest fires that swept across 29.5 hectares (h) in Cala Saona between 20 May and 18 July”.

Escandell took the opportunity to congratulate the brigade and other volunteers on their hard work and effectiveness on the job. “This was a particularly heart-wrenching year,” said the secretary, pointing to the loss of 29.5h of forested area, compared to 1.8h damaged by fire in 2016. He also highlighted crews' efforts on other occasions: two house fires and two traffic accidents.

Brigade enlisted in 158 operations
In all, Formentera's firefighters were called on 158 times in 2017, forty-two more than the same period in 2016, when the service was activated 116 times. Escandell linked the upsurge to two causes: the brigade's expansion and consolidation (local ranks swelled from five in 2015 [three salaried, two part-time] to six in 2016 to seven in 2017) and the storms that pounded the island last winter.

In fact, the greatest uptick was recorded in efforts which required the brigade's technical expertise: 21 in 2016 against 60 this year. Such operations followed damages caused by things like wind- or rainstorms or spills on public roads. The service was also tapped for 17 rescues, 18 false alarms and 23 preventive operations.

Moreover, Secretary Escandell stressed the importance of ongoing training. This year, firefighters took part in refresher courses and training in: extraction with lightweight tools following traffic accidents; emergency management and control; hazardous materials; managing updated tactical situations; accreditation to use semi-automated external defibrillators; indoor fires and ventilation including multi-pronged approaches.

Council clinches agreement to build local residence

Residenciaformentera web 0367The president of the Formentera Council and the regional secretary of social services and cooperation signed an agreement today paving the way for construction of a local residence for care-dependent individuals. Joining Jaume Ferrer and Fina Santiago at the event was Govern balear president Francina Armengol.

The residence, which will be part of the Govern's public care network, is expected to cost 1.2M€. The price tag will be split between the Govern (70%) and Formentera Council (30%). The two administrations will also share the facility's operating costs. The Palma government's per-day contribution for care for dependent individuals varies between €63 and €68, according to their degree of dependency.

The new residence, designed to accommodate 18, will have 14 single and two double rooms. Plans call for a connecting hallway allowing the neighbouring dependent care centre, or Centre de Dia, and the residence to share resources. President Ferrer hailed the agreement as an important step towards “a facility that will add a level of dignity to the lives of Formentera residents, particularly those in situations of care-dependency”. In closing, Formentera's president saluted the hard work of social welfare secretary Vanessa Parellada and her opposite number in Palma that made construction of the residence possible.

Transfer of authority on admissions to live-in care
President Ferrer also took part in today's gathering of the so-called “Mixed Transfer Commission,” in which participants agreed to transfer admissions authority at residences and care centres for senior citizens, care-dependent individuals and facilities that promote personal autonomy to the island councils of Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca. The change will take effect in early 2018.

Formentera wants part of island's port for public use

Port 1 foto ja arribasFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer will ask the Balearic port authority (APB) to designate part of la Savina's port for public use, namely by local nautical groups. “We believe part of the Formentera port should be for individuals whose livelihoods are tied to the sea,” said Ferrer, calling it a step towards “reclaiming traditional uses of the port and revitalising la Savina”.

The Council's request followed an announcement from the APB that the agency would not extend the lease held by the la Savina marina, Formentera Mar. As Ferrer put it, “the change from leisure port to nautical club could broaden the port's reach on the island and help it transition into a social, cultural, sport and recreational centre for residents”.

Moreover, President Ferrer highlighted the bid to regulate use of estany des Peix, which he expects the current addition of moorage spots in la Savina will make easier.

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”.

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