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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.

Council turns farming equipment over to Farmers' Co-op

Maquinaria cooperativaFormentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer and Jaume Escandell, president of the Farmers' Co-operative (Cooperativa del Camp), signed an agreement today making official the lease of farming equipment for use by the Co-op. Purchased by the administration, the farmers' group will use the stock of industrial tools and machinery to “push forward with the farmland reserve project and still other initiatives aimed at reviving Formentera's farming sector,” explained the CiF president, who said the equipment would also help boost “other efforts to improve the quality of our natural landscapes here on the island.”

Specifically, the Council will allow the Co-op use of an electric forklift, a hand pallet truck,  an electric pallet truck weigher, a tractor, a loader shovel, a seeder, a two-row super chisel, a rotavator, a reversible plow, a mower, a fertiliser, a suspended hydraulic sprayer, a trailer, a rectangular baler, a grain harvester and a cropper trailer. The lease is valid through the end of this year and can be extended. The total value of the equipment surpasses 320,000 euros.

The chair of the Farmers' Co-op, Carlos Marí, was also present at the signing of the pact. He called the Council's decision to lend the machinery “monumental for the Co-operative in terms of the autonomy it will give us”. Till now, the Co-operative has contracted out work on its farmland reserve project to third-party farmers. From today, the group will be able to take charge directly of such efforts. Marí pointed out that the Co-op could also begin using equipment like the tractor and harvester to help its own members and other interested individuals. The equipment will mainly be used to work the 150 hectares of land that comprise the local farmland reserve so far.

New president's office minister pays official visit to Formentera

Visita Pilar CostaThis morning in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council, President Jaume Ferrer met with the newly-appointed minister of the president's office of the Govern Balear, Pilar Costa. CiF councillors Susana Labrador, of the Office of Culture and Patrimony, Alejandra Ferrer, of the Office of Land Use and Tourism, and Sònia Cardona, of the Office of Community Involvement, were also at the meeting. In addition, the officials were joined by the chair  of the Govern Balear Office of Institutional Relations and Exterior Action, Margalida Font. President Ferrer seized the opportunity to thank the minister for her first official visit to Formentera.

The site of Formentera's ferry landing in the Eivissa port was one of the main topics of discussion at the meeting. According to the CiF president, the administration had asked the Govern Balear to get involved to help the parties “reach a solution mindful of the needs of Formentera”. The regional minister, for her part, spoke of conversations she has had since taking office a month and a half ago. She affirmed her belief that a consensus is possible, pointing to assurances received from all sides “that an agreement on this can be reached.”

The officials also used the meeting to discuss a new law on the island councils. In President Ferrer's words, what is needed is “flexibility”. “Formentera is the island with the most at stake with this law,” he maintained, pointing to the fact that the legislation was produced at a time when the Formentera Council didn't yet exist. Minister Costa made assurances that Formentera would play a direct role in the law's drafting.

Minister Costa made assurances that the final version of the law, expected soon, would be marked by direct participation from Formentera representatives. The officials also spoke about the importance of transferring tourism promotions jurisdiction to the island councils. Lastly, the CiF president asked Minister Costa to push for the signing —either in Palma or Madrid— of a new roads agreement, which would allow for improvements on Formentera's roadways.

Minute of silence to condemn another life lost to gender violence

At noon today in the doorsteps of the Formentera Council (CiF), a moment of silence was observed to grieve the loss of life of a woman in the Mallorca town of Port de Pollença. The woman died yesterday, a victim of gender violence. On hand were CiF president Jaume Ferrer, the Govern Balear's minister of the president's office, Pilar Costa, councillors from the ruling and opposition parties of the Council and the chairwoman of institutional, labour and resident relations on the island. The action was aimed at condemning the woman's senseless death. She is the third fatal victim of gender violence in the Balearics this year. 

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