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Formentera's lifeguard service takes look back at 2021 season

foto 2021 socorristesAThe Formentera Office of Interior reports that last Sunday 31 October marked the end of the 2021 season for the island's beach lifeguard and rescue service. Staff dispensed medical care on 1,200 occasions, 15 of which involved individuals who required transport to the hospital for further care, and 68 of which involved rescues. The service also logged treatment for 632 jellyfish and sea urchin stings.

The lifeguard season stretches from 1 May to 31 October, with a full staff of 23. Councillor of Interior Josep Marí praised the crew's dedication during the second summer of COVID-19 and for helping keep local beaches safe.

Specially equipped, cardio-protected beaches

The beaches of Es Arenals and Es Pujols are specially equipped so people with reduced mobility can swim there. This year 18 individuals used the service.

4 November 2021
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

5 Formentera families recognised as victims of Francoism

foto 2021 memoria democraticaFive local families had their status as victims of Francoism certified yesterday in a public act of recognition hosted by the regional Directorate General of Democratic Memory at the Palau de Congressos in Palma. Balearic legislation on democratic memory and recognition enshrines the right of victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship to reparation and acknowledgment, and designates 29 October as a symbolic date of remembrance and vindication of democratic values and the struggle for freedom.

Consell de Formentera President Ana Juan and Councillor of Heritage Raquel Guasch attended as well and accompanied the families of the honorees, Francesc Verdera Castelló, Marià Torres Torres, Vicent Ribas Marí, Josep Ribas Marí and Jaume Ferrer Ferrer. The five individuals are among the victims of Franco's repression and barbarism. In total, 15 islanders are expected to receive the certificate of recognition.

President Juan said a petition from the island's government was behind the decision to offer an additional, more intimate ceremony to families who were unable to travel to Palma to collect the certificate. She underscored "the debt that our society owes these people" and insisted that to restore dignity to how they are remembered today was "only fair": "That's why these tributes are so necessary and we must carry forward this work of the local and regional administrations".

Victims of Formentera

Francesc Verdera and Marià Torres were killed at Pedrera d'en Coix, a local quarry, on 20 November 1936; Vicent Ribas died at Menorca's Castell d'Illetes on 15 October 1938 and the remains of Josep Ribas and Jaume Ferrer rest at the cemetery in Sant Francesc.

"29 October, A Day of Remembrance" consisted of a tribute to more than a hundred families of victims of Franco's regime in the Balearic Islands, who were presented with a document attesting to their experience. The Secretariat for Productive Sectors and Democratic Memory started distributing the certificates this legislative term with the aim of recognising the grave injustice endured by victims and their families.

30 October 2021
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Councillors vote unanimously to amend Balearic local police coordination act and extend posidonia monitoring across island

foto 2021 x ple BDecision-makers gathered today for the October full-house assembly of the Consell de Formentera, a session that was chaired for the first time by President Ana Juan, and which found the Councillor of Environment and Inspection Services, Antonio J. Sanz, relinquishing his post.

The body unanimously adopted a proposal which was presented by the Councillor of Interior, Josep Marí, calling for amendments to legislation on how local police departments in the region coordinate. Marí said the change was about making Formentera's local force "larger and better suited to meet needs on the island" and explained that "in most Balearic municipalities, and Formentera is one of them, local police departments are facing serious staff shortages", a situation the councillor attributed to a recruitment process which, in 2021, "remains very long and inflexible".

Councillors urged government to make necessary amendments to the Local Police Coordination Act to streamline selection processes and shorten waits, as well as to broaden the scope of its financial and human resource provisions to the Balearic School of Public Administrations (Escola Balear de les Administracions Pùbliques/EBAP) so it can offer training courses for new officers and higher positions more quickly. They also pressed the Balearic Ministry of Presidency, Public Function and Equality for administrative, technical and management support that is due Formentera per 2017 legislation on coordination between local police forces in the region.

Environmental proposals

The assembly unanimously passed a resolution urging the Balearic Ministry of Environment to expand posidonia monitoring across the entire coastline of Formentera. The environment chief said the change would "establish the necessary mechanisms in coordination with the Consell de Formentera to make the new service effective in 2022".

Assembly members voted in unision to adopt the Sustainable Water Management Plan and Emergency Plan for Droughts. Councillor Sanz framed the plans as "bringing Formentera in line with national and Balearic hydrological plans as established by law".

Another proposal that overcame Sa Unió abstention by virtue of votes from Gent per Formentera (GxF) and Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) reps included "administrative changes necessary to operations envisioned in the contracts for waste collection and transport services". Councillor Sanz said the move would usher in "the start of a new period of bidding on the contract, without delaying the start of next year's service".

Budget revision

Plenary members also granted initial approval to budget amendment 4/2021, with the GxF and PSOE cabinet voting in favour and the opposition abstaining. Councillor of Economy and Finance Bartomeu Escandell described the €1,370,000 revision as "an update and a response to urgent needs stemming from the COVID-19 crisis".

Councillor Escandell highlighted spending jumps in two main areas, staff and tourism promotion, tying the former to additional working days and the latter to countering springtime uncertainty around the tourist season (Escandell described both as "imperatives of the COVID-19 response"). The councillor expressed satisfaction "because the Consell has the financial capability to deal with the difficult and changing situation we're in".

Additional proposals

The session also saw "yes" votes from the cabinet securing passage of a Sa Unió proposal on implementation of road safety measures, although Sa Unió members ultimately abstained from the vote. The proposal formalises local government's intent to keep implementing the measures set out in Formentera's Sustainable Mobility Plan to improve road safety, and to press forward on the drafting and approval of the Road Safety Plan, which, once approved, will give way to prioritizing of road safety improvements at the main junctures of PM-820 and at pedestrian crossings.

Assembly members struck unity on another modified Sa Unió proposal to issue a call for bids on a multi-year contract to manage the social media presence of the island's tourism promotion department, with councillors agreeing on the importance of an open tender process to ensure fair and open competition and selection of the best bid.

S'Estany des Peix

Assembly members were appraised of the cabinet committee agreement to start the process of approving the guidelines that will govern regulated use and assignment of moorage points on floating pontoons and low-impact buoys in S'Estany des Peix.

Public consultation on the matter also received green-lighting after a 15-day comment period on the Consell de Formentera website and bulletin board sought to gather opinions and feedback from the most representative figures and organisations which future regulations stand to impact. Councillor Sanz called it "yet another step towards cleaning up an ecologically threatened area and reclaiming it for the people of Formentera".

Departmental report

The Councillor of Mobility and Territory, Rafael González, appeared before the assembly to give an account of operations in his departments over the past year. González described the period as comprising four phases: "The first was about aid and boosting the economy, bearing in mind that last winter was spent under a six-month state of emergency. Phase-two found us exiting emergency orders, adapting to the new situation and preparing for a possible tourist season. With summertime came phase-three, which Sanz characterised as "marked by the acceleration and intensification of strain linked to tourism".

According to the councillor, "We are now in the fourth phase: preparing for the next season in which that strain is expected to grow, and for this reason we must analyse mobility data from this summer and decide whether to enact or improve on the measures in our established road map". González highlighted priorities like "implementing formentera.eco; improving La Savina's summertime metred parking scheme; creating and improving access guidelines at natural areas; expanding and improving public transport services; promoting pedestrian and cyclist mobility and making towns more tranquil". González also explained efforts designed to improve management of the Formentera Office of Territory.

Official proclamations

The October assembly also brought approval for two official proclamations, the first of which was presented by Ana Juan on the occasion of the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologisation. In the declaration, the President and Councillor of Equality underscored "the need to keep working to normalise all gender identities and to leverage activities, culture and education to build visibility and awareness in society". An official proclamation was also approved on the occasion of the International Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

29 October 2021
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Formentera to get €9m 'to invest and develop social policies to help islanders'

Consell de Formentera President Ana Juan welcomed news of a 15% year-on-year increase in funding from the Balearic government for island councils as part of the 2022 regional spending bill.

Juan, who learned of the increase at a meeting bringing together her opposite numbers across the archipelago and Balearic First Minister Francina Armengol, noted Formentera's payout from the region would come in at nine million euros (up from eight million this year) – "an amount that should be useful for investments and in developing social policies to help islanders weather fallout from the Covid-19 crisis".

25 October 2021
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Formentera loosens Covid constraints

foto 2021 AJ mesures covidFor the first time today, Consell de Formentera President Ana Juan took part in a meeting to discuss developments related to the pandemic Balearic First Minister Francina Armengol, heads of the other island councils, the president of the Balearic Federation of Local Entities and the mayor of Palma.

Discussion centred on loosened restrictions following encouraging public health data and the mass vaccination effort. In terms of the island's level of risk, Formentera is now in tier 1 of public health alert, said Juan, "and though the situation today is good, collective effort will be required to ensure we don't lose ground". "To those who haven't yet done so, please, get vaccinated", she added, appealing to islanders to "do it for [their] neighbours" and because "it's the responsible thing to do".

The Governing Council approved a series of crisis response measures to take force upon publication tomorrow, 26 October, in the Balearic Gazette (Butlletí Oficial de les Illes Balears, BOIB). Each island's public health situation will be reviewed every fortnight. Thus, some of the tier-1 limitations in place to date on Mallorca, Eivissa and Formentera will remain, while practically all will be lifted on Menorca, which currently occupies tier zero, deemed a "controlled risk".

In general, businesses and establishments serving the public can return to 100% capacity. Dancing that may take place (where not expressly prohibited) must be done with masks and in specially designated areas separate from zones where food and drinks are consumed.

One of the few restrictions to remain unchanged relates to tobacco and similar products. Smoking is still banned at businesses with outdoor seating areas and public spaces when it is not possible for individuals to stay two metres apart. In order to prevent further outbreaks, outdoor drinking ("botellones") is prohibited in all public spaces.

Chief protective measures

Restaurants. Restaurants may resume normal hours of operation, as long as a distance of 1.5 metres can be kept.
Evening entertainment. Cafés with musical entertainment and cocktail bars may operate at 75% capacity. Indoors and out, guests who eat or drink must be seated at a table and there must be a distance of at least 1.5 metres between tables. Masks must be worn when not consuming and dancing is not permitted indoors or out.

26 October 2021
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

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