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Academic council renews directive, begins 2015 calendar of meetings

nensTomorrow, 28 January, at 7:30pm a meeting will be held by the Consell Escolar de Formentera (Formentera academic council). The council, which handles affairs concerning education on the island and recently renewed the group's own guiding directive, will gather at the Council's hall of culture beside the Marià Villangómez in Sant Francesc.

The CEF is an advisory entity that permits participation in the general educational (though non-university) programme on the island. Their goal is to improve the quality of learning and ensure that the educational needs and rights of Formentera's children are respected.

President of the academic council, Raquel Guasch Ferrer, also fulfils the role of director of Formentera's secondary school, IES Marc Ferrer. The vice-president of the academic council is Teresa Costa Castelló, who herself stands as director of the Sant Ferran primary school.

The remaining portion of the advisory council is composed of local teachers, parents, students, non-docent staff, union workers and representatives of other associations involved in education. The Govern Balear plays a role in the entity as well, with Palma's delegate in Formentera – José Alcaraz – and the Formentera Council's councillor of education and culture – Sònia Cardona – also taking part.

Among the council's capacities and functions are participation in the educational map of the island – where schools are to be placed and which educational centres need remodelling. They also include decisions about how to provide transport to and from school, how academic centres might better integrate (both at the social and cultural level) into the surrounding community, and any other issue related to educational needs that are specific to Formentera.

New system of regulated parking on horizon in La Savina

parquing LaSavina270115This morning, the Formentera Council set out the exact details of the new system of regulated parking agreed upon by the administration and the local group known as the Consell d'Entitats de Formentera ('Council of Entities'). The system will enter into effect next week, with the administration's Citizen Information Office (l'OAC) taking on the task of educating residents about specifics of the programme. The Citizen Information Office will also assume responsibility for distribution of the decals and parking passes that will permit locals – and residents of La Savina – use of certain parking areas with special conditions.

Objectives

Council president Jaume Ferrer explained: “The goal is that by Easter – the first half of April – residents have a clear understanding of 'green' and 'blue parking zones' in La Savina and are able to use them correctly”. Ferrer continued: “I am thrilled to be able to lay out the details of a project that has been such a long time in the making. After long and complicated negotiations with the port authority and a complex navigation through the myriad elements involved, we are finally rolling this out”.

The Formentera Council president expressed his conviction that “the new system [would] be a great improvement to the rotating flow of vehicles in the port” and assured residents that “starting next Monday, parking passes [would] be available based on different user profiles, based on the criteria established by the Council of Entities”.

Users

Two versions of a decal will exist, to be placed and made visible on a driver's windscreen. A blue decal – for Formentera residents – will allow drivers to park in both green and blue zones for a maximum of 24 hours in summer (from May to October) and 72 hours in winter (from November to April). A green decal – exclusively for residents of La Savina – will allow parking in blue zones under the same conditions as for blue decal holders. However, in green zones, green decal holders will be allowed parking for up to 15 days. In both cases, drivers will be required to use a new kind of parking metre: one for which no money is collected. The new parking metres will serve only to determine the exact date and time a driver arrived at his parking spot.

As for the parking passes, there will also exist two different types: one for businesses and one for electric vehicles. “If you have a business in Formentera, you will be given a parking pass – one per establishment and at no cost. These will not need to be affixed permanently, thus allowing a business with multiple company vehicles to use the same pass for its different cars,” explained councillor of transport Alejandra Ferrer. The parking pass will also be made available to businesses not based on Formentera, though at a cost of €50 per month. This is the same price any Formentera-based business must pay if its owners wish to obtain more than one parking pass.

The parking pass for electric vehicles “was something that came up time and time again in the Council of Entities meetings,” explained Ferrer. The goal of the electric vehicle pass being to foment use of environmentally-friendly transportation, its application was inevitably quite simple: “In the blue zones of La Savina, electric vehicles will not pay for parking during the first 24 hours in summer and 72 hours in winter.” Moreover, battery recharge stations will be installed and available at different points across the port town, “meaning that any tourist – resident or not – that drives an electric car will be exempt from payment”.

Limitations

Both Jaume Ferrer and Alejandra Ferrer underscored the fact that “rental cars that have not been rented will not be able to occupy the blue or green parking areas, nor will any vehicle that exceeds the size of a parking space”. Scooters and motorcycles are not included in the new system, but this does not exclude them from regulation – these vehicles must be parked in special 'scooter and motorcycle only' zones. As for loading and unloading zones, outside of established business hours, “these will become either blue or green zones, depending on their location,” explained Alejandra Ferrer. Reduced-mobility vehicles “will be allowed ticketless and unlimited free parking, but must be parked in spaces established to this effect”.

Highway maintenance services replace 300 protective fence posts along Formentera's roads

carreteresSince last Friday, 23 January, the Council of Formentera's highway maintenance crew – known as xarxa viària – has been charged with the task of fitting some 300 fence posts alongside the island's primary thoroughfare with protective casings. The casings serve to safeguard against the dangerous 'guillotine' effect that can potentially occur in the event of roadside accidents, especially those involving motorcycles and scooters.

The majority of the crew's work will involve simple replacement of pre-existing casings that have deteriorated or come off over time. So far, most have been placed along the section of highway approaching La Mola, but their installation is also planned for the Sant Francesc roundabout and segments of road near Es Caló.

The purchase of some 200 protective casings was required to supplement xarxa viària's existing stock, bringing total cost of the action to €4,200. In addition to replacing the protective casings, the highway maintenance crew is also currently switching out any deteriorated road signs as they are found.

Raising awareness about natural surroundings, Sant Francesc library hosts environmental workshop for children

escola estiu2This Wednesday, 28 January at 5:30pm, the Marià Villangómez library of Sant Francesc Xavier will host a special workshop for children four and up aimed at increasing knowledge of local wildlife.

Combining an informational portion with a series of activities specially-adapted for younger audiences, the encounter is part of a campaign to propose one environmentally-themed educational workshop per month.

This first gathering will focus on some of the most oft-encountered animals on Formentera, with recycling, clean beaches, posidònia seaweed and wildfire prevention all planned as subjects to follow.

To compliment the educational content of the day, a selection of books on local Formentera wildlife will be pulled from the library's shelves and put on display with an end toward familiarising participants with good research habits.

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