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CiF convenes July plenary

foto ple juliol 2016Members of the Formentera Council (CiF) met today for the July plenary session. By the session's end, attendants had unanimously adopted an agreement between the Balearic Islands autonomous community (CAIB) and the CiF on the places at the Formentera Day Centre for dependent adults. Social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada said signing the pact was “an issue of political responsibility” but called attention to an unfavourable report issued previously by the centre's administration that underscored insufficient funding to care for all the patients there. At present, Parellada said, the day centre relies on the Council to make up the funding shortfall.

Plenary members also unanimously passed a measure to establish the island's local holidays for the 2017 year. According to Susana Labrador, the CiF's head of culture, the two festivals will be the Festival of Sant Ferran on May 30 and the Festival of Sant Jaume on July 25. The latter is also island's official holiday, known as Formentera Day, or Diada de Formentera.

Cutting energy consumption
The day's session also brought approval for a measure by the Popular Party to maintain fixed thermostat levels (21ºC for heating and 24ºC for air conditioning). Daisee Aguilera, the Council's head of environment, highlighted the administration's support for the measure to improve energy efficiency, which she said would “reduce our energy consumption and offset some of the effects of climate change”. She also predicted a positive impact on the Council's electricity bill.

All the representatives at the plenary supported the socialist group (PSOE) on a measure to re-establish periodic cleaning and telephone services at the Es Cap centre for the elderly. Finally, a one-off measure was adopted regarding town and country planning at Cala Saona. Councillor Aguilera pledged to pass along news of the plenary agreement to the responsible authorities —the coastal authority and the harbour master's office— “so that land use in the area can be improved”. Aguilera cited improvements needed in the way activities at the cove are managed and watercraft safety is overseen, but pointed to “swimmer and beachgoer safety” as a leading concern.

Formentera police instruct catering service to strike waterside set-up

Foto ocupacio domini publicLast Sunday, July 24, an event planning firm contracted by individuals aboard Icon, a yacht wearing Dutch flags, set up catering facilities on public shoreline near kilometre nine of Migjorn beach. Using nautical equipment to cordon off a stretch of the beach, the company set out roughly 30 chairs and 10 tables before proceeding to array parasols and hammocks on the sand as well, to the chagrin of other beachgoers.

Formentera local police and a steward of the Balearic coast guard arrived at the scene and ordered the set-up to be taken down. The municipal employees have now drafted a report about the occurrence that will be passed on to the Formentera Council. According to CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, the administration will now pass along the report to the regional coastal authority, Demarcació de Costes, which will issue a fine.

Aguilera took the opportunity to remind Formentera's visitors that organising events on public beaches, "much less sectioning off areas for private use, is strictly prohibited”. The Council, she said, hopes Sunday's occurrence will help ensure similar events aren't repeated in the future.

Formentera pigeon hunters get temporary go-ahead

In an effort to keep fauna populations in check and protect local farming production, the Formentera Council's Office of Rural Affairs has issued a special provision effecting Formentera's game preserves. The following five Sundays —from July 24 to August 21— from 7.30 to 11.30am and 5.30 to 9.00pm, the common wood pigeon may be hunted on authorised game preserves.

Pointing to a recent spike in the pigeon's numbers on Formentera, rural affairs councillor Bartomeu Escandell explained the aim of the move was to “protect crops threatened by these birds, especially on local vineyards”. The hunting techniques permitted will not change from those set out by current laws in force, and hunters' assignments to specific reserves will not be affected. Escandell said the measure was in tune with the Formentera Council's policy of rural renewal and pest control for species that impede it.

Formentera firefighters map out emergency routes

Foto servei bombersCiF president's office head Bartomeu Escandell and Iván Marí, chief of Formentera's fire brigade, unveiled a series of changes in the firefighting service this summer. Escandell highlighted the recent hire of an additional full-time employee, which brought the brigade's number of staff to six, four full-time professionals and two on-call workers.

Said Escandell: “For the first time our firefighters are carrying out regular daily patrols, coordinated with agents of the regional ecology bureau, to ensure we have people on the streets overseeing preventive measures at those times when wildfire risk is highest”. The brigade has two fire engines and a pick-up truck fitted with a water tank and hose. Escandell, who also reported on plans to acquire a second such truck in August, said smaller vehicles like pick-ups were useful for situations in which rapid response is important.

According to the fire chief, Formentera firefighters have intervened 69 times in 2016, eight times fewer than the same dates last year. He said that decline also reflected a drop in brush fire interventions, which went from 12 to 6. Marí referred to the new GPS system in place for geolocating remote homes on the island, saying the scheme had already made a noticeable difference in the brigade's ability to arrive quickly at the scene of emergencies. Councillor Escandell took the opportunity to ask islanders to their help preventing wildfires.

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