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Formentera salutes local police force

foto diada policia localEarlier today, Formentera's local law enforcement paid tribute to its patron saint, the guardian angel. At 12 noon, the entire police force attended mass at the Sant Francesc church. CiF president Jaume Ferrer, Bartomeu Escandell, the councillor to the president's office, as well as other local figures like Formentera's parliamentary representative in Palma, Sílvia Tur, and representatives of emergency response services like the Guardia Civil and civil protection services, were all present at the ceremony.

Near 1.00pm hors-d'oeuvres were served at Hotel Es Marès to show appreciation for the work of the local police. President Ferrer highlighted the force's hard work ethic in what he called “an especially difficult year”, referring to the Govern Balear's blocking of new recruits. “Our forces of law and order have made every effort to maintain safety and tranquility on the island”, he said.

Councillor Escandell, who is also head of Formentera's local police, spoke about the creation of a patrol crew by the CiF. Escandell said the Council's additional patrol staff “helped complement the work that until now had been left entirely to the police”. Thanks to the police and the inspection service, he added, a change has occurred in the types of tourists that visit Formentera, which Escandell said displayed “increasingly respectful behaviour”.

Formentera pushes for additional control of pine processionary

foto ple setembre 2016In plenary session today members of the Formentera Council voted unanimously to instate new measures to ensure enhanced control of the processionary pine caterpillar on Formentera. The move, explained CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, would entail urging the Govern's environment ministry to push ahead in its current use of pheromone traps to curb Formentera's processionary pine numbers.

Aguilera said that the spike in captures of butterflies was behind the Council's call. Focusing on the hardest hit areas of the island, the administration hopes the Govern will push ahead with a phytosanitary treatment which includes use of an all-terrain vehicle in 2016 to distribute the biological agent Bacillus thuringiensis. Crews will also continue destroying processionary nests by hand and gunfire.

Finally, the CiF councillor asked the Govern for swift action in the process of issuing permits for aerial spraying of the Bacillus thuringiensis bio-agent. The decision has been backed by the environmental arm of the island's league of local association reps, Consell d'Entitats. As Aguilera noted, “this particular agent is biological and doesn't affect flora and fauna, unlike the chemical agent —diflubenzuron— that the previous administration of the Govern intended to use in 2014. Diflubenzuron did have effects on plant and animal life, which is why it was opposed by Formentera as a whole”. The councillor heralded the productive kinship that exists between the current Balearic and Formentera administrations in tackling the pest.

The Formentera Council has taken another step toward protecting the Mediterranean Sea from oil prospections, requesting the processing of a document on exploratory drilling ("Sondejos exploratoris des de la plataforma Casablanca: Rodaballo promogut per REPSOL"). Members of the plenary recognised and thanked Aliança Mar Blava for the group's tireless work.

Additionally, attendees of the plenary adopted a joint motion presented by the PSOE and GxF. The motion received support from the entire house with the exception of the PP, and was aimed at backing a campaign for women's right to safe abortions.

Statement before the plenary
The Council's infrastructure, transport and IT councillor, Rafael González, appeared before plenary members to discuss his offices' work until today and projects on the horizon this legislative session. The councillor delineated the goal he said will underpin initiatives in all three areas: “To make Formentera more sustainable and ensure a high quality of life for residents”.

In the area of transport, González invoked the island's recently debuted network of nature trails —dubbed the Rutes Verdes— which provide walkers and cyclists a means to easily and safely move about the island whilst enjoying the natural surroundings. He also spoke about the ongoing task of promoting electric vehicles on Formentera.

As for infrastructure projects, the councillor underscored the completion of the public works project along the es Pujols street carrer Aigua Dolça as well as the start of urbanising works on the road which leads to the Formentera Farmers' Co-operative and the household waste drop-off centre, la Deixalleria. Moreover, he pointed to the upcoming transformation of es Pujols' town centre and waterfront promenade, a new pump for the town and a bid to pedestrianise the northern stretch of carrer Fonoll Marí.

The councillor also spoke about the importance of listening to and complying with the voice of the people. Hence, he announced his offices would set aside €250,000 for what he called “participative budgets” during the current legislative session.

Lastly, González promised the Office of New Technologies would also work to “make things easier for residents by making it possible to do more administrative formalities online” and “facilitate access to online information about the Council and activities in leisure and tourism”.

Govern pledges to lead reforesting charge in wake of Espalmador blaze

foto visita zona afectada espalmadorThree representatives of the Formentera Council (CiF), president Jaume Ferrer, president's office chair Bartomeu Escandell and environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, took a trip this morning with Govern Balear minister of environment Vicenç Vidal Matas to the area of Espalmador damaged by fire on August 13.

The reforestation plan, explained the Palma minister, will first entail cordoning off the affected area for safety reasons and to prevent visits to the site. Second, the plan envisions pruning and shredding of the burnt vegetation before ultimately reseeding with juniper seeds. Finally, Vidal invoked an outreach campaign to stem future negligent acts like the one that caused the recent blaze.

For his part, the Council president thanked the environment minister for his visit, which followed an earlier request made by CiF plenary members in view of “the need to return the site to its natural state”. President Ferrer asked that the planned work begin as soon as possible.

Formentera says checks of incoming olive trees would stem incoming snakes

foto control serpsLast night at 8.00pm, minister of environment Vicenç Vidal and head of species protection Joan Mayol, both of the Govern Balear, took the opportunity of a presentation at la Mola's Casa del Poble to announce the results of a campaign to capture snakes on the island of Formentera. Since April 76 traps have been placed and 262 snakes have been caught. According to Vidal, analysis by the Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB) of collected data indicates that 44% of the reptiles had eaten lizards. The regional minister called the data “cause for hope” that snakes could ultimately be eradicated from the island.

Formentera Council (CiF) officials present at the presentation included Bartomeu Escandell, who fills a joint role as councillor of the president's office and head of rural affairs, and Daisee Aguilera, the CiF's councillor of environment. According to Aguilera, given the promising nature of initial results the Council has already acquired an additional 60 cages to extend the trap-and-capture push. Created by the Eivissa's Escola d'Arts i Oficis, the traps are considered more environmentally “ethical”. The recently updated design boasts two inner compartments which keep the captured snakes separate from the bait, live mice. Thanks to the tweaked design the mice's lives are spared, and instead can continue to serve as bait to catch more snakes. According to Aguilera, traps have already been set in la Mola, Es Caló, Sant Ferran and Migjorn, and she made assurances that at present the invasive reptiles had only been found in la Mola and surrounding areas.

“The current trap-and-capture push, a joint effort of the CiF and Govern, is a very positive first step”, said Aguilera, “but more measures will be necessary”. To stem the arrival of snakes, the environment councillor says the most important measure to adopt will be “a control of incoming ornamental trees”. Aguilera cited olive trees as the principal method of transport for stowaway snakes. She also seized the opportunity to salute “exceptional co-operation on the part of la Mola residents and of the population of Formentera at large”.

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