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Renewed support for local farmers' co-op

Foto signatura cooperativaFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer met with the director of the island's farmers' co-operative, Cooperativa del Camp, to put their signatures on a partnership agreement between the two groups valued at €95,000.

With a focus on community-level efforts to revive local agriculture and beautify Formentera's landscapes, the partnership is aimed at renewing efforts like the co-operative's stewardship of unused land and management of member plots.

It is reckoned that the bid to reactivate agriculture on Formentera will have positive knock-on effects on economic, social, cultural and environmental areas.

The Farmland Reserve programme took wing in April 2015 when the first land was handed over to the co-operative. Since then, roughly 142 hectares of farmland have been donated by 60 private landowners.

Council adopts plenary plan to manage cultural heritage sites

Foto sessio plenaria abrilThe Formentera Council convened its April plenary session today. It was a meeting marked by the swearing in of Partido Popular (PP) operative Enrique Llorens Folgado as councillor, a role that was previously filled by Gabriela Mayans.

One proposal that followed on the heels of Llorens's appointment and got the vote of all parties was the 2017-2019 management plan for the island's cultural heritage sites. Patrimony councillor Susana Labrador took the floor in favour of the motion, aimed at setting up strategy and priorities in protecting and giving visibility to Formentera's historical heritage.

The day's session also saw a green-light for the island's census figures. According to chief of the CiF president's office Bartomeu Escandell, a tally put the island's population on January 1, 2017 at 12,905.

A socialist party proposal on upkeep of the es Cap tracks garnered the assembled plenary's full support. Infrastructure councillor Rafael González made assurances that a repair of the surrounding fences and a general check of the installation were in the works.

Request for rectification
Towards the end of the session and in response to a question from the PP, Council president Jaume Ferrer reiterated that standards had been rigorously upheld in tendering works contracts to Regioplus Consulting and Consultores de Políticas Comunitarias.

Ferrer expressed his stark disapproval of a posting made recently on social media by José Manuel Alcaraz. In his post, Manuel claimed, “on Formentera we're living in a handy age. I'm not talking new technologies; those are an absolute mess. I'm talking about all the handpicking Jaume Ferrer does when he hands out contracts to friends and family”. Ferrer pledged to take the matter to court if Manuel refused to retract the comments.

Head of Balearic parliament meets with Council leadership

Foto presidentsJaume Ferrer, chair of the Formentera Council, met with Baltasar Picornell as part of a visit by the head of the Balearic parliament to deepen local engagement with the Palma lawmaking body. A subsequent meeting, held immediately after, included the rest of the CiF's team of councillors.

Ferrer extended thanks to Picornell for his visit and drew special attention to a gathering to take stock held at the Council's main office on April 7.

Sant Ferran residents engaged in discussion of town's development prospects

Foto presentacio sant ferranLast night members of the Sant Ferran community gathered to review the Formentera Council's road map for the town's centre in the years ahead. Council chair Jaume Ferrer and Rafael González, the administration's infrastructure councillor, together with senior members of specialist architecture firm Estudi Lunar, shared details of the project in order to engage residents in discussion and get input on possible improvements.

Pitched as an articulation of the Sant Ferran identity, the project envisions repositioning the town as the island's cultural stronghold, a bid that will rest on constructing cultural facilities on the current site of the town's school. Dubbed a “centre for the arts,” plans for the complex include a theatre/auditorium, community centre and school of art. The firm hopes to fit the town with a cutting-edge public amenities infrastructure that is specially tooled to promote social gatherings and use of public spaces.

Introductory efforts
The gathering served to chart the project's initial phases, which officials expect will begin November 1, 2017. On carrers Guillem de Montgrí and València work will be focused on beautifying the streets for residents and cyclists. The two arterials will remain open to vehicles though additional plans are afoot for a change in the direction of traffic, a measure aimed at stemming south-north crossings of the town and forcing drivers to instead use the nearby roundabout. The current draft project was designed by Open Fabric, a firm specialised in urbanism.

Housing back in spotlight for second Formentera debate

Foto votacio unanimitatToday was the second session of the debate on the state of Formentera. All but the socialists gave approval to a Gent per Formentera proposal urging the Govern de les Illes Balears to heed comments submitted by the Formentera Council and accelerate the process for a parliamentary law on housing.

Land councillor Alejandra Ferrer took the floor in favour of that proposal and another one (adopted unanimously) calling on the Palma administration to ratchet up staff resources at the Formentera branch of IBAVI, the Balearic housing agency. Besides setting up regular weekday hours at the office, which would give Formentera residents information on the services and benefits available to them, the measure includes the future possibility of a joint initiative with the Council to establish things like a register of year-long rental listings and legal advise.

Plenary attendees also gave unanimous approval to a transactional measure lobbying the Council to do what it can to free up public land in its control for more social housing. The proposal also presses the Govern to give IBAVI additional funding to finance such new construction projects.

Restricted vehicle access
Unanimous go-ahead was also given to a Gent per Formentera motion advocating that the Govern de les Illes Balears allow the Council to use—and restrict vehicle access to—an area of es Cap de Barbaria known as sa Tanca d'Allà Dins. Head of the president's office Bartomeu Escandell called the measure “protection of an important environmental site” aimed at “guaranteeing the sustainable and sensible enjoyment of such a special place”. Officials hope to restrict all but foot and bike access to sa Tanca in summertime.

Sant Ferran cultural centre
With “yes” votes from the governing team and rejection from the other parties, the session brought approval for a measure to relocate the Council's education, culture and patrimony offices to Sant Ferran de ses Roques. The move is aimed at “culivating the town as the island's main cultural centre”.

Tourism promotion
All parties gave their support to Gent per Formentera's call for the Govern Balear to fully transfer powers on tourism promotion to the individual island councils. The appeal also includes a request for “fair and sufficient financing” and compelling improvements to be made on the proposal from the previous legislative session.

Full support was also given to Gent per Formentera's proposal to enlist renewable energy providers when sourcing the administration's power needs.

Local senator
In another unanimously adopted proposal, this time from the socialist party, the Council was pushed to table an initiative in the Balearic parliament calling for changes to the Spanish constitution and other texts so that Formentera could have its own senator.

Controls on moorage
All parties at the plenary supported a socialist motion to “work with the Palma government on expanded control of the Formentera seaboard”. Recently appraised of the fact that the Govern's moorage assistance and inspection service won't start until June, CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera repeated a call for the regional administration to oversee minimum surveillance at least from early May.

According to Aguilera, the service entails other crucial functions not related to boat anchoring, like tracking spills, stopping party boats and providing information to the public.

Another PSOE measure, pressing the Council to earmark “specific and sufficient funding” for the island's 2018 youth action plan, also received unanimous “yes” votes.

Approval also came for the PP's transactional proposal urging the Balearic port authority to suspend all but exceptionally urgent works within the Formentera port between May 1 and October 15.

Another PP measure that benefitted from the governing team's cooperation and received the approval of all parties calls on the Council to “continue seeking consensus with opposition groups regarding the regulation of tourist rentals”. Tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer was behind the decision to add “continue” to the wording, saying this process is already the norm.

Plenary members also gave full support to a call from Compromís to press the Govern to begin a study of autochtonous livestock.

All parties supported Compromís's proposal urging a report from the coast guard on our sand dunes and possible shortcomings in coastline protections. That measure also included input from the Council's governing team. Cross-party support was also secured for Compromís's call to bring back Formentera's sports gala.

Of the 29 proposals made, 15—or 52%—were passed.

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