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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.

New generators to reduce noise and emissions at power plant

Visita central electricaToday in the administration's plenary hall, Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and environment councillor Daisee Aguilera met with the Govern Balear's minister of land, energy and transport, Marc Pons, and the regional government's director general of energy, Joan Groizard. The officials then met with Es Ca Marí residents with homes near the power station in that area, and concluded the gathering with a trip to the facilities, where the Endesa company's chair, Ernesto Bonín, spoke about recent improvements at the site.

The CiF president characterised the administration's calls to reduce noise and air pollution at the power plant as “a 17 year long struggle”. He also hailed the recent installation of eight generators capable of supplying 12 megawatts. Between the new equipment and additional electricity provided by two underwater cables that extend from Eivissa to Formentera, it is hoped local energy needs can be met. Last summer saw energy demand hit highs of 20 megawatts.

Among the changes that Bonín highlighted, a single smokestack was constructed and noise-reducing screens were placed around generators. An associated turbine will only be activated in cases of emergency. The Govern's energy minister celebrated what he called “a triple win”: increased electrical potential, reduced noise pollution and less emissions winding up in the atmosphere. He said the changes would make Formentera “a better, more competitive destination spot and one with a better quality of life”.

To President Ferrer, the improvements are still just a first step. He referred to long-term plans to add two underwater supply cables connecting the island to Eivissa as well as an adjacent substation. The generators will be kept running till October 15. After that time, the existing cables are expected to suffice for Formentera's lower, off-season electricity demands.

Council launches info service for Govern's solar power subsidies

The Formentera Council's Office of Environment will launch an information service for residents interested in applying for renewable energy assistance from the Govern Balear. Applications are open to businesses, associations and individuals who wish to receive government money for photovoltaic (solar) energy.

Starting Monday, June 6, the general public can visit or call the CiF's Office of Environment (971321210) for application details.

The Govern Balear has recently announced the availability of two grants. The first, for which the regional government in Palma has earmarked 200,000 euros, is for businesses and business associations that use solar energy for self-supply. The other grant, with similar terms and a 250,000-euro budget, is for individuals and groups of property owners.

Cruise liners dock at distance from posidonia prairies

Foto ocean majestySpeaking earlier today, the councillor of environment of the Formentera Council, Daisee Aguilera, reported that “all the cruise ships that have made stops so far this season in Formentera's waters have done it in an area of the port without posidonia seagrass”. The feat reflects a commitment made by the Council last summer to preserve prairies of the seagrass in the waters of la Savina.

Aguilera said she was glad that “this summer we'll be able to balance tourist cruise liners with protection of the heritage plant, posidonia,” something the councillor called “a priority issue for the Council”. She also thanked entities like the Balearic port authority and the maritime authority, who made it possible for cruise ships to anchor away from the port zone proper, and ship operators for their participation. The Star flyer made a stop in Formentera May 4 and the Ocean Majesty on May 21. Most recently, the Artania pulled into port yesterday.

In all three cases, the Council contacted the port and maritime authorities, Autoritat Portuària de Balears and Capitania Marítima, to suggest alternatives to the ships dropping anchor on the posidonia-covered floor of la Savina port zone two. According to Aguilera, the Council proposed anchorage a mile northwest of the port, in a sandy area that is 40 metres deep, to avoid damage to prairies of Formentera's signature seagrass. The APB has reported that, for the time being, no more cruise ships are scheduled to dock at the island this summer.

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Formentera neta, naturalmet gràcies a valtros

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Balears Life Posidonia

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