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Assembly members return for first on-site plenary since before state of emergency

foto 2020 ple juny 1With protocol in place to help guarantee safety and prevent the spread of covid-19, members of the Consell de Formentera met face to face today for the first monthly full-house assembly since since emergency orders were rescinded. The June plenary session came with backing for a subsidies plan for 2020-2021 and phase-one approval for a host of others, including a scheme to regulate unlawful marketing, sale and consumption of alcohol; a measure on the names of local towns, roads and public places; changes to blue zone metred parking, and a new committee charged with studying potential risks and issues relative to neglect and custody of minors.

Noise inspections at Es Ca Marí power station
In a cross-party appeal to the Balearic ministry of environment, assembly members highlighted the need for training to enable Consell de Formentera personnel to perform noise checks and inspections in enforcement of noise immission standards at Es Ca Marí power station.

Defending the proposal, environment conseller Antonio J Sanz offered that “the goal is to use the powers afforded by Balearic legislation on noise pollution to develop a suitably equipped system of inspections”. Sanz said the effective result of the environmental commission’s adoption of observations from Spain’s public light utility, Endesa, in May, was to “weaken the very emission reductions and environmental safeguards” that the Consell pushed for in March when it backed integrated environmental authorisation for Es Ca Marí substation.

Acknowledging the Balearic government’s authority on electricity, Sanz insisted the proposal aimed to “put the Consell in a position to ensure compliance with the plant’s noise immission standards”. “We have more than a seat at the table here”, said the conseller, “we have a political responsibility to do something for residents who have endured a difficult situation for years now”.

Strategic subsidies plan 2020-2021
With “yes” votes from the GxF-PSOE cabinet and amid abstention from members of Sa Unió, the assembly passed a strategic subsidies plan for 2020-2021. Economy and tax office conseller Bartomeu Escandell described the associated measures as “crucial, because they support Formentera’s associations and build stronger communities while investing in our countryside, sustainable mobility, the environment and more”.

Targeting individuals and groups that propose work of public, social interest, and which tackle disparities linked to Formentera’s double and triple insularity, subsidies will serve projects built around social change; education, culture and heritage; sport; farming, livestock, fishing and hunting; mobility and the environment.

Regulating marketing, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages
Assembly members came together to grant initial backing to a package of measures designed to regulate the illegal marketing, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on Formentera. In the words of social welfare conseller Rafael Ramírez, in addition to “creating guidelines for tackling the illegal promotion and sale of alcohol”, the ordinance “is about protecting Formentera youth”. Ramírez pointed to recent studies putting alcohol among the three most popular and prevalent drugs on the island, and described the new bylaw as “a tool to regulate and prevent unlawful acts”.

Bolstering protections for minors
The assembly struck unity on the formation and governing rules of a local government commission to examine questions related to risk, neglect and custody of minors. Highlighting recent rules changes in the Balearics, the conseller stressed the imperative of delivering “an up-to-date system to protect children and minors”. According to Ramírez, the multi-member body, with power to deliver opinions on proposed resolutions, “will reinforce and increase the efficiency of our policies on the protection of minors”.

Traditional place names
Support came, despite “no” votes from the opposition, for a measure on the nomenclature of towns, roads and other urban sites on the island. Patrimony and language policies consellera Raquel Guasch said the change fixed various aspects of the initial document “with an eye to cementing traditional popular toponymy, time-honoured names and other features of local culture”. “Something so visible and so integral to our identity as toponymy and micro-toponymy requires certain rigour”, the consellera insisted. Other changes to the 2018 text also include replacing “Maryland” with the residential area’s traditional appellation, “Es Copinar”, and “Polígon Industrial de Formentera” with “Polígon Industrial de Can Teuet” (Can Teuet Industrial Park).

Moratorium on hydrocarbon explorations
Approval also came for an Aliança Mar Blava measure bolstered by cross-party sponsorship and defended by Formentera’s conseller of environment: “We’re pushing the Govern to urgently implement an immediate moratorium on new applications to investigate, explore and extract hydrocarbons and on new hydrocarbon exploration projects in the Spanish Mediterranean”. Unanimous support was additionally secured for the Consell’s membership in the Xarxa d'Entitats Locals (Network of Local Entities) to develop and implement the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Sa Unió proposal on transparency
Consellers passed a proposal, brought by Sa Unió members and brokered by the local cabinet, on ongoing content upgrades of the Consell’s Transparency Portal and cross-party collaboration to create a commission on ethics and good governance.

Urgent motions
Assembly members gave unanimous support for two urgent motions to revisit the tax and regulatory ordinance governing blue-zone metred parking on Formentera. Mobility conseller Rafael González said the changes would make a 9.00am-to-9.00pm time-table standard in towns across the island where pàrquing regulat is in place. In light of the ongoing crisis, they would also establish a 25% reduction that hotels near metred areas could pass on to their clients. The move also clears the decks for implementation of a mobile payment app, 15-minute parking in La Savina and Es Pujols, and patrols by parking attendants even in towns like Es Caló where the pay-to-park system is absent — which, as González pointed out, already occurs on market days in La Mola.

Cross-party support was likewise secured for a proposed reference to guidelines governing child and adolescent recreational services in the new normality. Described by youth consellera Vanessa Parellada as the product of collaboration between Govern balear and island councils, the amendment to existing regulations envisions covid-19 safety and preventive measures in Formentera’s summer day-camp programme, youth drop-in centre and other Consell-backed recreational programming, as well as other leisure activities organised on the island in the new normality.

Departmental report
Infrastructure, agriculture and interior conseller Josep Marí offered members of the assembly an overview of his departments’ efforts in the last twelve months. Speaking on farming, livestock, fishing and hunting, Marí said the local farmers’ co-operative should be the “backbone and driving force of the local revival of agriculture and livestock” and, together with the Consell, “must restore, professionalise and make profitable agrarian activity”.

Underlining Formentera’s commitment to its agricultural sector, Marí detailed recipients of Consell subsidies in 2020 — Farmers’ Co-operative (€130,000), the Fishermen’s Guild (€15,000) and Association of Livestock Farmers (€37,000 plus special drought assistance topping €15,000 for animal feed).

Interior
Applauding the efforts during these unusual times of the Formentera Local Police, Marí identified the priority moving ahead as an “increasing stability on the force”, which he said could be delivered by coupling “an agile and efficient chain of command” with “sufficient officers to continue making Formentera a safe, orderly place to live, and a destination where visitors’ safety is assured”. Marí additionally praised the work of others on the Consell payroll like lifeguards and firefighters.

Infrastructure
As Marí drew to a close, he gave a review of upgrades either under way or in the offing in distinct towns on the island, and offered that his department’s objective in the past remained unchanged in the present: “To equip Formentera, and particularly our towns, with needed resources. We want to turn towns into people-friendly places, rid them of vehicle traffic and make them more socially and economically vibrant”.

He concluded by saluting the consellers who preceded him, Consell personnel, and his counterparts on the cabinet.

Government proclamation
And lastly, backing was secured for a proposed proclamation on World LGBTI Pride Day. Consellera of equality and LGBTI affairs Vanessa Parellada explained, “we’re adding our voice to a call that has already been cast: to forgo urgency and ‘right now’ for premeditation. Our efforts must reflect the importance of comprehensive legislation that supports trans people, social equality and eradicating state discrimination of LGBTI people. We need laws that defend, protect and shield these communities against intolerance and invisibility”.

“Now that the Consell de Formentera has authority on LGBTI policies, we need to continue the longstanding efforts already under way toward prevention, education and support for the community”, she said. Parellada also identified a challenge moving ahead: the launch of a local service for comprehensive support.

26 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera Local Police issue 17 citations for unauthorised camping

The Formentera department of interior reports that in the twelve months since 20 June 2019, the island’s police force cited 17 cases of unauthorised camping, an infraction which carries fines of up to €600.

Barring express administrative authorisation, camping is forbidden everywhere on the island, regardless of whether the site in question is public or private. Also banned are provisional and permanent free-standing structures, including mobile homes, camper vans, vans, cars and tents, not to mention other objects like sleeping bags, mattresses or mattress pads which are designed for overnighting. Individuals are additionally prohibited from sleeping on street furniture.

The restrictions were conceived in the spirit of preserving natural spaces and cultural heritage sites. Given the absence of camp sites on the island that are regulated to guarantee compliance with ecological safeguards, the activity represents a serious risk for Formentera’s land and natural environment.

23 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

From Monday, ban reinstated on construction in Formentera towns

The Formentera Department of Territory reports that the end of emergency orders on Monday will coincide with the resumption of ban on construction projects that cause bothersome noise and vibrations in urban areas and tourism spots. Normally in force from 1 May to 15 October, the ordinance was placed on hold in light of the delayed start of the tourist season.

Starting Monday, authorisation will be limited to conduit repairs essential to safety or hygiene, and urgent works previously submitted for review and having obtained express permission from the Consell.

18 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

As island prepares for returning visitors, Formentera calls for new normality to include public health controls and tracing protocol

foto 2020 visita armengolWhen Consell de Formentera president and deputy president Alejandra Ferrer and Ana Juan sat down this afternoon with Francina Armengol, the Balearic first minister, and Pilar Costa, the chief of the first minister’s office, it marked the first in-person encounter between the two administrations since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

Ferrer praised Armengol for the coordination between the Consell and Govern in recent months, and expressed her will to see such cooperation continue beyond lockdown de-escalation, which is set to conclude next week. “Emergency orders will be lifted on Sunday 21 June, but that doesn’t mean the crisis is over”, said Ferrer, who underscored the need for contingency planning with regard to the families and companions of infected tourists: “In our new normality we’ll need to maintain controls on public health and establish tracing protocol in the event that new cases emerge with arriving visitors”.

Ferrer also voiced concerns about domestic and international flight connections, and about the ongoing absence of Europe-wide safety protocol, which she described as “a missed opportunity for a united message”. As for furloughs announced in the midst of the crisis, Ferrer asked for Armengol’s backing in discussions with the central government: “Considering our economy is based exclusively on tourism, and given the short season in 2020, business owners and workers on the island will need help weathering the winter ahead”.

Ferrer additionally highlighted the potential for new opportunities that crises can afford, and suggested that the current juncture may hold out the opportunity for forward strides in terms of sustainability, solidarity and economic diversification, particularly as the island attempts to move away from a summer-centred tourism. “This crisis has laid bare the weakness of Formentera’s highly seasonal economy and the vulnerability that a large swath of our population faces”, Ferrer offered. “We have to realise that a diversified economy will make us more balanced and improve the quality of life for the people who need it most.”

For her part, the Balearic premiere offered a public show of thanks for the efforts of islanders and local government during a loosening of lockdown measures that saw Formentera, thanks to favourable public health figures, enter de-escalation one week ahead of the rest of the archipelago and Spain. “We are well aware that the economic situation is going to be very complicated”, Armengol added.

The premiere pointed out that the number of Formentera families receiving minimum social income (RESOGA) has jumped from 38 pre-coronavirus to 442 today. As well, she highlighted assistance of between €2,000 and €3,000 for self-employed individuals, including €250,000 from the Consell de Formentera, as well as €100,000 that the local government has put up in support of businesses and micro-businesses benefitting from ISBA loans.

Ferrer and Armengol asked islanders and visiting tourists to remain vigilant in terms of safety measures designed to prevent the local spread of Covid-19.

17 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera announces numerous offices reopening to public

Multiple arms of the Consell de Formentera have once again opened to the public for appointments:

- The Formentera Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing (Àrea d’Agricultura, Ramaderia i Pesca) is reopening for public visits

From today (Monday 8 June), the agriculture, livestock and fishing office, located at Centre Antoni Tur ‘Gabrielet’ on Avinguda de Porto-salè, reopens to the public. Hours are 10.00am to 1.00pm, Monday to Friday, by appointment. Visits must be scheduled 24 hours in advance by calling 971 32 10 87.

- The Formentera Department of Education and Culture (Àrea d’Educació i Cultura) has reopened to the public as well

The offices at Carrer de Mallorca, nº17, in Sant Ferran, are again accepting visits by appointment. Hours are 9.00am to 2.00pm, Monday to Friday. Visits must be scheduled 24 hours in advance by calling 971 32 10 87.

- The Formentera Department of Environment (Àrea de Medi Ambient) has resumed in-person appointments

The offices at Carrer de Mallorca, nº15, in Sant Ferran are again accepting visits by appointment. Hours are 9.00am to 2.00pm, Monday to Friday. Visits must be scheduled 24 hours in advance by emailing mediambient@conselldeformentera.cat.

Preventive, hygiene and disinfection protocol must be respected in each department. Visitors are asked to wear a mask, and hydroalcoholic hand sanitiser will be provided at the door.

8 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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