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Formentera rolls out lifeguard service

Foto socorrisme 2018 1Formentera's 23-member lifeguard and rescue crew, on duty since this Tuesday, May 1, congregated for the service's seasonal kickoff on Llevant beach. At 9.30am CiF president's office secretary Bartomeu Escandell made an appearance.

Calendar and service upgrades
Lifeguard and rescue operations are in place from May 1 to October 31. The ten-person team of waterfront watchwomen and men grows by five from June 1, before assuming the full 23-person staff June 15. The progressive descent commences September 15, when a team of 15 administers the service the rest of the month. From September 30 to the close of October, ten individuals oversee service.

In a departure from last season, defence towers have been erected at es Caló and Cala Saona. The rescue service's new jet-ski was acquired in an effort to improve and expand the service. Fifteen walkie-talkies were also added to the team's stock for the same reason, and to facilitate communication between distinct areas of operations. Lifeguards took part in a refresher course covering on-the-job duties like prevention and care for minor incidents like jellyfish stings and sun stroke.

Self-managed service
The lifeguard and rescue service is still today run by the Formentera Council. “We've always felt that our corps of lifesavers should be Council staff”, said Escandell. The secretary noted that thanks are also in order for the Council's efforts securing housing for the crew.

Accessible, cardio care-equipped beaches
Arenals and es Pujols beaches have access points for swimmers with reduced mobility. The service is available when the green flag flies, from 12 noon to 5.00pm, and can be commissioned by phoning 609 768 506. Every lifeguard post is equipped with a defibrillator in the event of cardio-respiratory failure.

April plenary assembly

foto ple abril 2018As the Formentera Council convened its April plenary session today, two measures commanded particular prominence: a proposal to block acoustic surveys and initial support for an ordinance on metred parking.

Stopping MEDSALT-2
Thanks to backing from Gent per Formentera (GxF), PSOE and Compromís—and despite the abstention of PP representatives—traction was gained by a motion to immediately halt review of a push for acoustic surveys. The measure followed a decision by the Balearic Islands' parliament to support a ban on exploration, research and harvesting of hydrocarbons and similar substances in the Mediterranean.

The plan's outwardly scientific appearance notwithstanding, and despite the reticence of PP assembly members in acknowledging the petroleum industry's interests in seeing such a plan come to fruition, recent weeks have attended an array of warning bells sounded by the environmental community. Most recently, Aliança Mar Blava has claimed possession of evidence demonstrating actors within the petroleum industry have already shown interest in the project. Namely, the group points to the fact that the geological salt formations flagged for exploration are thought by some to be potential nodes of petroleum and gas.

Even more harmful, say detractors, are the acoustic disruptions airguns used in the survey process would produce. It is feared that such noise could be devastating for undersea animal life. Species considered most vulnerable are whales, sperm whales, dolphins and fish held to have commercial value.

Parking ordinances
With backing from GxF and PSOE, approval was also secured for two distinct plans—one concerning metred parking, and another laying the groundwork for the parking scheme's financing. The metred parking regime will be expanded from la Savina to the towns of es Pujols, Sant Francesc and Sant Ferran.

The project is part of a bid to meet burgeoning local demand for parking by promoting more frequent rotation and additional spaces.

Departmental reports
Concluding the day's session was a report from Bartomeu Escandell, CiF secretary of the president's office, the tax office and rural affairs, concerning his department's actions in recent years.

The secretary highlighted upgrades to the funding Formentera receives. In eleven years Formentera's financial package has swelled from €3 million to €6.8 million. Touting an increasingly sharp focus on local residents and online operations, Escandell also trumpeted what he called the Council's firm commitment to dynamism within the public administration.

As well, the secretary underscored efforts to revamp the legislative underpinnings of coordination between local law enforcement in the Balearics. Other similar gains have been netted in restoring local councils' leeway in hiring police officers, thus promoting the stability of local forces.

Escandell described such legislative tweaks as key to the Council's quest, now several years in the making, to fill vacancies, not to mention create altogether new positions, on the force. Council officials say that if everything goes according to plan, the new officers will be on the force in time for this year's high season. Escandell praised the work of the island's lifeguards, firefighters and the “tireless efforts” of Formentera's civil protection force—“volunteers who love Formentera”. “Thanks to these volunteers' close collaboration, we have been able to substantially improve our emergency response system”, he said.

This May on Formentera, get a dose of culture, fitness, gastronomy and tech

Foto mitja marato xavi garcia turFormentera's office of tourism presents the latest “Discover Formentera in May”. The campaign, in which the Formentera Council helps coordinate tourism-friendly events, offers the island's visitors deep discounts on ferry rides, car hires, accommodation and other low-season perks.

Photography and IT
Among this year's standout features is Formentera Fotogràfica, set to kick off this Friday, April 27, and continue to Tuesday, May 1. The pro event is open to photography lovers of all stripes.

Also set to hit the island this May is Formentera 2.0, where online communication and digital culture will come together under one banner for four days beginning Thursday, May 3. For more information, visit www.formentera20.com.

Culture and music hold premier spots on this year's Discover Formentera in May bill. First, there's the 2018 inaugural edition of l'Inhòspit from May 3-5 (Thursday through Saturday). The sampling of new theatre is part of the social and cultural programme offered at la Mola's Casa del Poble.

A forum for new theatre, dance and performance art, l'Inhòspit consists in three nightly performances at three points across la Mola: in the woods (bosc de ses Planes), at the foot of a windmill (molí d'en Botigues) and in the town square, plaça del Pilar. The event congregates more than twenty artists from different quarters of contemporary theatre and eight troupes—two from the island, one from Eivissa, two from Mallorca, two from Barcelona and one from Wales.

Descending upon the island from May 31 to June 3 is Formentera Jazz Festival. Formentera's artisan markets get under way the first weekend of the month—one more reason to visit the island in May.

Another sports fixture in the offing is the island's half marathon on May 12. Then, May 24–26, there's the Marnatón (a merger of mar, or sea, and the Spanish word for “marathon”) and the tenth Formentera to Run (May 27–June 3). The thirtieth Penyal d'Ifac regatta rounds out the bill from May 31 to June 2, for jam-packed month of fitness- and eco-friendly tourism.

Gastro weekends
Another main draw this May is the island's promotion of local gastronomy, an initiative known in Catalan as Caps de setmana Gastronòmics. Numerous island eateries join the fine-dining cause this year as the initiative unfolds over the first two weekends of the month (May 4–6 and May 11–13).

Participating restaurants offer gastronomic samplers at €20 (drinks not included), featuring dishes specially tuned for the occasion. Whether the food is traditional or represents a rehashing of an old favourite, dishes are always fresh, creative takes and are priced to move. Visit www.formentera.es for all the details.

Drivers can once again use two Sant Ferran roads previously closed to traffic

Foto Guillem 2The Formentera Council's infrastructure office reports that this Saturday motorists in Sant Ferran will regain partial access to two local roads that had been temporarily closed for upgrades. Vehicle circulation will be allowed at reduced speeds on the southern stretch of carrer Guillem de Montgrí and along carrer València, two points where the work of road crews is nearly complete.

This winter, workers undertook a project aimed at promoting pedestrian mobility in the town centre and envigorating local businesses. Upgrades mean the previous height difference between the pavement and street level has been reduced, plus the pavements themselves are wider. New signage is also in place and freshly painted lines on the road surface now reflect the town's new metred parking. That system, expected to alleviate the town's parking crunch, will take effect in June.

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