Unanimous call for fewer ferries and ‘urgent’ overhaul at La Savina port

foto 2021 ple agostDecision-makers convened today for their monthly full-house gathering, securing backing for a proposed regulatory overhaul of the port of La Savina and renewing earlier pressure on the Balearic Port Authority (APB) to work with the Consell de Formentera on a plan to limit trips on the regular line to Eivissa. President Alejandra Ferrer defended the proposal, insisting it would make the line “safe and environmentally and socially sustainable”. Local leaders pressed the APB to “urgently restructure the port to serve islanders’ social and economic needs”, highlighting options like “limiting ferry traffic and organised excursions by creating new spaces”, and “studying community moorage points, a dry slip and commercial zone”.

Councillors called on the harbour master’s office to prioritise safety —both en route and within the harbour, with respect to nearby anchored craft— when scheduling ferries, insisting space between arrivals was key to curbing bottlenecking at the entry point.

Assembly members also asked the harbour master’s office and APB to ban cruise ships from Zone 2 of the port, and pressed the Balearic Ministries of Environment and Mobility to urgently verify the capacity of Ses Salines Natural Reserve to accommodate anchoring recreational craft and study the impact of heavy cruise-ship and large liner traffic.

“This summer has again laid bare the pressing need to restructure our port keeping in mind local needs as well as our island’s real carrying capacity”, said President Alejandra Ferrer, “we need to put the environment, heritage and islanders’ quality of life first”. Restructuring at the macro level will be key to tackling longstanding issues in operations, safety and usability, said the premiere, confiding that space limitations, together with the managing entity’s inability “to find solutions that work for islanders and for sustainability” had “proven very problematic”.

Decarbonising the Es Ca Marí plant
With backing from members of GxF, PSOE and Sa Unió, the session saw passage of environment chief Antonio J. Sanz’s appeal to the Balearic Department of Energy Transition “to take steps to decarbonise the Es Ca Marí power plant by using gas or other less polluting alternatives”. “Our island needs an alternative energy source. Either we find one, or we source our energy from a pioneer ‘third cable’ project, and accept that our fuel-powered plant has exhausted its useful life”. Councillors also urged BDET to use Next Generation EU funds to adapt the Es Ca Marí thermal power plant to green energy.

Upgrades on waterfront promenade and additional staff for Balearic coastal authority
Cabinet councillors joined members of the opposition in pushing the Balearic coastal authority to fund, work with the Consell to devise, and implement a plan to repair and preserve public domain property like information panels and walkways. The island’s leaders asserted additional staff would be “key to patrols, safeguards and administrative agility”, and Sanz highlighted “the importance of maintaining this infrastructure to protect our coastline and dunes”, and said related efforts needed “appropriate funding to be successful”.

New path to career public service
Assembly members delivered unanimous approval to the rules governing career-track employment for municipal employees. Local human resources chief Paula Ferrer insisted lifetime employment was a right protected by Spanish legislation on government workers, and the Consell’s implementation of that legislation was at the core of a cross-party agreement the previous term. Ferrer described the career-track option as “an improvement”, reasoning it offered “a transparent and well-defined chance for professional growth” and “put Consell employees on equal footing with workers in other administrations”. Career-track positions are voluntary and granted on the basis of workers’ performance, experience and professional specialisation.

Decision-makers also backed waiving fees paid by drivers of vehicles that are considered “classic” under Royal Decree 1247/1995. Motorists should apply directly, and the waiver applies, per regional Department of Traffic rules, to vehicles with plate numbers following the H-0000-BBB pattern.

Plenary members also unanimously backed Sa Unió’s appeal to deliver staffing support to ensure year-round operations at the local office of the Balearic jobseekers’ service. Decision-makers also pushed forward an initiative to help boat rental companies in the La Savina port.

Vanessa Parellada reports
Offering a review of efforts in the offices in her remit, Vanessa Parellada described youth, citizen participation, new technologies, equality and LGTBI affairs as “cross-cutting”, asserting, “They impact every islander”. She highlighted completion in 2021 of the children’s playground in Sant Ferran and the skate park in Sant Francesc, charging the latter, as a meeting point, was “an overnight success”. “This skate park has brought together children of all ages”, she observed, and pointed up plans for ongoing upgrades based on needs. In citizen participation, Parellada said 115 groups were listed on the local associations register, with 54 associations currently on the Consell d’Entitats, up from 37 in November 2019”. In new technologies, the councillor described the municipal contract on voice and data communications as “the most ambitious and complex project this year”, insisting it would “completely change how remote facilities connect to the head office”. In equality and LGTBI affairs, Parellada talked about rollout of the Consell’s first Internal Equality Plan, a funding increase for Espai Dones and a fresh impulse for education around sexual violence against women. She also pointed up efforts to build visibility and awareness around diversity in gender identities and sexual orientation.

Official proclamation
Plenary participants struck unity on a proclamation concerning the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan under occupation by the Taliban. Given the tragedy endured by the Afghan people, and in compliance with the Istanbul Convention, “we continue to decry the grave danger faced by women and girls in Afghanistan — of dignity denied, and persons subjugated, enslaved or killed”. Councillors appealed for “urgent action” to stop the tragedy, and highlighted the Council of Government’s appeal for a contribution from Spain “helping guarantee the lives and integrity of Afghan women” and offer “to receive them as refugees or asylum seekers”. Councillors insisted Formentera would “join that effort”.

27 August 2021
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera