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Council and IBANAT take on pine processionary

Foto treballador forestal. Autor Baide 22.16.00Together with the Govern Balear, the Formentera Council (CiF) is behind a new push to curb the spread of the pine processionary caterpillar on Formentera. Councillor Daisee Aguilera, who oversees the CiF department of environment, noted that starting yesterday, January 13th, Council crews began to look for nests of the insect in the area it is most common: Es Cap de Barbaria.

Manual or mechanical drives

«We’ve contracted two forest service specialists who will be on the island for the next two weeks to attend to the problems the species is causing. What’s more», Aguilera continued, «the Council is coordinating a volunteer group that will remove the insects’ nests by hand (in lower branches) and machine (in high branches)». Aguilera’s office has also enlisted the Es Cap hunters’ club to shoot at nests located in the high top branches of pine trees. The office of the environment has purchased 2,500 cartridges at a cost of €600 and intends to begin that phase of the process between this week and next, depending on weather. The councillor added: «If anyone else wants to join either volunteer group, or if other residents have affected pine trees on their property, please contact the department of environment for assistance».

IBANAT's work

For its part, the Balearic Nature Institute (IBANAT for its acronym in Catalan), a branch of the regional ministry of environment, agriculture and fishing of the Govern Balear, has coordinated several different actions on Formentera to attack flare-ups in caterpillar numbers.

Since Tuesday January 12th and for another two weeks, IBANAT personnel will provide technical advising to CiF staff, cutting down and burning the nests they find in the Es Cap area. Council officials said the partnership can later be extended beyond two weeks if need be.

Govern decree fits neatly with Formentera's own protectionist strategies

Reunió decret protecció premsaCiF president Jaume Ferrer, president's office secretary Bartomeu Escandell, and Alejandra Ferrer, the island's secretary of tourism, sat down today with two regional government officials —Joan Boned, the Balearic minister of land, mobility and energy, and Luis Corral, the director general of the ministry's land use department— to be brought up to speed on an order, approved yesterday by the executive branch, containing urgent measures on urban planning.

Speaking after the gathering, Alejandra Ferrer framed the new decree as an extension of the island's own guidelines for territorial safeguards, a code of standards called “Subsidiary Norms” (Normes Subsidiàries) which was adopted in 2010. Yesterday's executive order throws up a building freeze on certain swaths of protected land, something Formentera's standards code includes as well. “Our unique territorial situation, not to mention limited size, make us different”, Ferrer said, “that's a difference that makes us competitive”.

Power return
Ferrer spoke cheerily about another effect of the decree: that local branches of government stand to regain some powers. When the Balearic executive decree and Formentera's Subsidiary Norms overlap in a given area, the more restrictive of the two codes takes precedence, a fact Ferrer indicated could mean reinstatement of the local ban on camping.

Concerning tourism, Ferrer welcomed the potential that yesterday's order opens up for facilities improvements in rural areas, while still warning against the possibility that such a rules change be used improperly, say, to disguise unauthorised expansion projects.

In Ferrer's estimation, a good deal of work on land-use legislation still lies ahead, and she encouraged the Palma officials to work with the Formentera administration to ensure that the new regulations “square with the unique qualities of our island”.

Locals shoppers made 4,400 purchases this holiday season

Entrega premis premsaThe Formentera Council's trade office teamed up with the local chamber of commerce today to award prizes as part of a Christmas raffle. The eleven lucky winners had all taken part in “Compra a casa, compra a Formentera” a Christmas push to buy local and support island businesses. Trade secretary Alejandra Ferrer highlighted the success of a campaign which, in this, its second year, has put 4,400 raffle tickets in the pockets of Formentera shoppers—proof, the secretary said, “that more than 4,400 purchases were made at local businesses this holiday season”.

Expanding the campaign
Initially participation was open to any local business not trading in edible products, provided it continued operations through the year and put up Christmas decorations. However, given Formentera shoppers' warm reception of the campaign, Ferrer says next year will come with expansion to new areas, such as restaurants that are open year-round, which the secretary says should benefit from the buy-local incentives. Ferrer even alluded to the possibility of extending the campaign past the holiday season.

Eleven winners
Secretary Ferrer was joined by Juanma Costa, the chairman of the chamber of commerce, in handing out prizes to the eleven winners. Jaime Moll won a weekend on Eivissa for two, car and hotel included; Maria Magdalena received a Christmas ham and bottle of wine; Erika Escandell, two cinema tickets for two; Paquita Escandell, dinner for two at Acapulco; Begoña, a piece of art by Sol Courregues; Antonio Tur, a trip to Raquel's hair salon in la Savina (with cut, colour and styling); Rita, dinner for two at s'Abeurada den Simonet; Patricia Vázquez, a piece of art by Sol Courregues; Alicia Benito, a shellac nail session at BSC in la Savina; Isabel Roig, perfume from Artesanía Formentera in Sant Francesc; and Antònia, a set of books. Winners who were unable to unable to attend the ceremony can stop by the trade office (àrea de Comerç) of the Formentera Council to pick up their prize.

Council removes 11 abandoned boats from Formentera coastline

Embarcacions retirades foto

The office of the environment of the Formentera Council has removed 11 watercraft including skiffs and flotation devices abandoned along the waterline in Estany des Peix (3) and Es Caló (8). Councillor Daisee Aguilera, head of the office, explained not only were the boats eyesores and lacking any identifying information, «they had been left on the public shoreline, which is prohibited by Formentera’s regulatory code concerning use of beaches and swimming areas».

ID’ing the boats

A watchman employed by the CiF environment office spotted seven of the craft last 21 September. At that time, Aguilera said, decals were affixed that notified owners they had one month to move the boats from public land before the Council took action and sent them to the dump.

«Since no one came forward», Aguilera explained, «the Council went ahead with removing the boats. A notice was then published to inform owners they had 15 business days to claim their property, if they paid all removal costs and dump fees». Left once again with any response, the Council proceeded to the decontamination and scrapping of the abandoned property.

Aguilera noted the same process has occurred with four other abandoned watercraft, two in the Estany des Peix area and two in Es Caló, discovered on 28 and 30 October. After the cut-off date of Wednesday 13 January, the craft will be sent to the scrapyard.

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