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Formentera asks Madrid to consider acute isolation of islands

foto-reunio---alejandra-ferrerAlejandra Ferrer sat down today at the seat of local government with Patricia Abascal, thanking the senator for the chance to meet and taking the opportunity to impress on her the island’s principal appeals in hopes she will defend them before the central government in Madrid.

The Formentera president reiterated the importance of “a special system of funding [called the ‘Special Balearic Regime’, or REB] reflecting Formentera’s situation of triple insularity”. While discussing calls for the creation of a local magistrate’s court, the two officials also identified another imperative: bridging the gap between residents and municipal services.

Another bullet point involved developing the Sustainable Development Goals as a pathway to tackling and preventing climate change. President Ferrer highlighted the local administration’s efforts to reshape municipal housing ordinances in an effort to create a year-round stock of available-for-rent housing to protect the basic right to housing of people on Formentera.

Senator Abascal, for her part, insisted that one of her priorities was “raising awareness about the islands and the living conditions of those who call them home”, stressing “people in the Balearics have needs and our colleagues in Madrid must listen to them and do their best to understand them and look for solutions”. Abascal reasoned such particularities warranted the programming of a conference about insularity and autonomous municipalities. President Ferrer pledged she would discuss Formentera’s specific issues with the senator so they could be addressed at the event.

6 February 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Two-year ‘Patrimony Plan’ passed at full-house session covers historical memory and intangible heritage

foto-2020-ple-generDecision makers gathered today for the local government’s January plenary session. The assembly brought cross-party support for the 2020-2021 “Island Patrimony Plan” (Pla Insular de Patrimoni)—a plan which includes strategies for managing Formentera’s tangible and intangible heritage.

Department chief Raquel Guasch described the document as “a roadmap for our present and future heritage strategies”. “The incorporation of many uncompleted actions from this plan’s predecessor means it’s technically a plan that stays the course”, she said, adding: “It’s a realistic one as well, because the emphasis is on initiatives and actions seen as workable. Meanwhile, what makes the plan innovative is its focus on Es Campament, listed as a cultural heritage site since 2013, and suggested strategies relative to intangible heritage—the creation of an immaterial heritage advisory committee, for instance, as well as the designation of traditional dance and homespun redoblat singing as ‘immaterial heritage’”.

Assembly members voted to approve not only the formation of the advisory committee but the group’s operational procedures as well. Ms Guasch pointed out that the new document calls for a special “protection plan” for one site in particular regarded as being of notable historical interest: Ses Salines nature reserve. The department chief called on other administrations and groups for help implementing the plan, and commended what she called “a true group effort” by heritage department personnel.

With “yes” votes from the governing team and the abstention of the opposition, one measure also to receive backing was brought by local education chief Susana Labrador. “This is a rejection of educational models and measures that violate children’s right to integrative learning rooted in democratic principles like equality, tolerance and respect for diversity”. Also expressed is the Formentera government’s support of school autonomy and complementary extracurricular activities that are consistent with educational criteria. The text urges the Balearic government to block political and partisan interference in schools and to keep working to move the new education bill through the legislature, while it calls on Formentera’s own government to “continue programming activities for schools that promote the values of equality, tolerance and diversity”.

Improvements to sanitation grid
Assembly members also agreed unanimously to urge the regional environment and land offices to expedite the processing of environmental permits for replacement parts and upgrades across the island’s general sanitation grid. Brought by environment councillor Antonio J Sanz, the proposal puts pressure on the Balearic Agency for Water and Environmental Quality (Abaqua) to speed up public tender of the work, describing “exhaustive revision to determine weak spots on the grid, a speedy start of construction and improvements to the grid to prevent new leaks of waste water” as “imperative”.

The session also secured cross-party support for two bipartisan measures from Sa Unió. The first calls for the maintenance, troubleshooting and, if necessary, replacement of prefabricated classrooms at the Sant Ferran school. The second involves Formentera’s adherence to the regional government’s “Electric Mobility in the Balearic Islands” management programme.

Report from Antonio J Sanz
At the conclusion of the day’s session, chief of environment and inspection services Antonio J Sanz took the floor to provide what amounted to the year’s first stocktaking, or compareixença, by a councillor on the governing team. Focusing first on efforts over the last seven months involving the vehicle roadworthiness testing site (ITV), Sanz underscored new personnel, the creation of a pool of available service inspectors, a return to normal with respect to wait times and the broader service, plus more upgrades currently in the works.

As for the environment, Sanz spoke about the substation and turbine at Es Ca Marí, meetings between neighbours and the Balearic environment ministry and short-term corrective measures like the installation of a third cable to allow for replacement of the turbine.

On waste management, Sanz offered that recent months had seen “tireless work to hammer out the details of the latest tendering of the waste management contract so that the new service accommodates current and forward expectations”.

Sanz also reminded assembly members of the environment department’s advancement of the proposal to ban single-use plastics in administration offices—an initiative that is currently being tendered. He also highlighted a new programme to reuse pallets at the waste processing centre, promising figures regarding organic waste collection, a newly robust pick-up service and a string of projects that have received funding from the Save Posidonia Project. In addition, the councillor described progress in the effort to regulate moorage at Estany des Peix, reported on the latest meetings around improvements to the local sanitation grid, and held up the Formentera government’s recent decision to declare climate emergency.

31 January 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Rain- and windstorm leaves Formentera with 3 fallen trees

foto 2020 temporal 4A cocktail of rain and wind was behind multiple reports of incidents last night on Formentera. At 8.35pm, the call was received that a stray branch and whole pine tree lay blocking Es Cap de Barbaria highway a kilometre from the Can Ramon roundabout. Local police directed traffic while members of the Consell de Formentera fire brigade cleared the road of both obstructions.

An additional tip came through at 7.11am this morning that a fallen tree crosscut Es Cap de Barbaria highway near the transfer station. Local law enforcement again provided support while crews removed it, and by 8.30am the operation was reported complete.

Fire crews were also called to duty last night at 9.30pm to clear the road of construction barriers lying strewn across the thoroughfare in Sant Ferran. Another caller alerted crews to tanks blown into the street from the nearby site of the future home for the elderly. The municipal roads crew responded to the latter incident, not to mention to other reports of road signs blown from the posts.

Felled tree in Es Pujols
In the early hours of the morning another tree fell beside the waterfront promenade in Es Pujols. A cleaning crew on contract from the local government was dispatched to remove it. The works brigade has already begun the task of removing a shade-giving arbour in Es Pujols’ Plaça d’Europa that was snapped in half by strong wind gusts. A similar arbour was cleared from the outdoor area of the municipal swimming pool.

112 emergency response received numerous reports of power outages.

20 January 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera fire brigade responds to 213 incidents in 2019

bombers--1-1The interior department of the Consell de Formentera reports that the island’s brigade of firefighters were deployed 213 times in 2019—30 more than the previous year. Of 31 fire-related interventions, 31 were in response to fires—three of which affected forests and nine of which were classified as agricultural. The former represented a total burned area of 0.17 hectares (ha) and the latter 5.12ha, for a total 5.29ha of scorched land. The remaining blazes involved homes (seven), street furniture (six) and vehicles (six). All told, the brigade put out six more fires than last year.

Seventeen cases involved aid and rescue: seven traffic accidents, seven individuals and three animals.

Technical interventions like removing fallen trees from roads, street cleaning, and others involving urban utilities amounted to 52 of the brigade’s actions. Ninety-three of the interventions were preventive; most were related to patrols (78), and 20 involved false alarms.

Interior councillor Josep Marí underscored the efforts of the island’s firefighting team, drawing particular attention to “the rapid response of the brigade and of Ibanat personnel” in two fires last year in La Mola. Marí highlighted the collaboration of the civil defense corps, law enforcement and the Operative Unit of the Balearic emergency division, who worked together to respond to multiple emergencies across the island.

9 January 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Firefighter training

foto 2019 curs bombers 3The interior department of the Consell de Formentera reports that local firefighters and Civil Protection volunteers recently took part in a course at the island training facility on rope access and urgent care.

Piloted by Emergency Staff SL, the programme was made up of various theory-based and hands-on workshops. Participants performed victim immobilisation exercises with an array of instruments, not to mention emergency medical response protocol for wounds, haemorrhages and burns. Students assembled headboards and performed rappel in urban settings. They also reviewed strategies for rescues performed in wells, mounted zip lines, learned safe practices with extension and hook ladders and practiced evacuating victims using ladders in urban environments.

All told, eight firefighters and four Civil Protection volunteers.

20 December 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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