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Formentera lines up basic course for firefighters

foto curs bombers 2018 3The president's office of the Formentera Council reports that a basic firefighting course will be held on Formentera December 10-22.

Intended for aspiring firefighters on the island who have successfully completed the selective process and are listed in Formentera's pool of job seekers, the 72-hour course mixes textbook-based and hands-on learning and is tuned for the realities of service needs on the island.

Instruction will cover first aid, traffic accidents, hazardous goods, work at height, indoor and outdoor fires, and a control and command module.

About 15 students will take part in the course, designed and driven by a nine-person team of healthcare teachers and veteran firefighters from the Emergency Staff company.

Advisory group finds Formentera Council acted appropriately with Punta Gavina permit

foto consell consultatiu 2018When the Formentera Council gathered today for a special plenary session that was both extraordinary and urgent, the assembly voted to forgo review of construction permits corresponding to case number 373/2006 and  Punta Na SLU, finding the permits do not present motives for nullification as argued by SUNWAY, SL, in doing so eliminating the need for ex officio review. “Yes” votes came from Gent per Formentera, PSOE and Compromís; PP representatives abstained.

The proposal obtained approval following the Consell Consultiu's November 21 pronouncement ruling out derogation—and consequently additional review—in consideration of three allegations concerning a permit for Punta Na SLU and associated with the request for ex officio scrutiny.

According to land councillor Alejandra Ferrer, the three allegations in question—failure to give notice of forum for pertinent representations, failure to conduct a legal review, violation of municipal code regulating single-family units—are untrue. “The Consell Consultatiu found not only that we gave notice and did the legal review, but that the remote single-family dwelling side of regulation was respected as well. So any review of the permit is unnecessary”.

Ferrer denounced PP party members for “having tried to cast doubt on the administration's senior councillors ever since the municipal code was passed” by encouraging SUNWAY to “continue pursuing injunctions to separate permits”. The councillor also blasted PP reps' to-and-fro voting, saying it amounted to “changing one's vest just because something a member of the Council says doesn't sit well with you” and calling it “pretty sad”. “Assemblies like this should be moments to vote based on conscience and, particularly, on the reports that are here in advance for us to read”, concluded Ferrer, “not just because one doesn't like what another councillor says”.

Formentera to get over €20m as part of region's 2019 spending package—up nearly 37% from this year

foto pressupostos CAIB 2018Balearic administration's budget includes upwards of €8m in local investment and 33% more funding –or €9.1m in total– for Formentera Council

Formentera will receive 20.7 million euros as part of the Balearic autonomous community's 2019 budget for an increase of 5.6 million, or 37%, on the 2018 figure. The money will come from distinct departments of the regional Govern as well as public sector firms representing the operative arms of the Palma administration.

The Govern will set aside more than eight million euros for public investment on the island, up roughly 43% or 2.4 million from this year. As for the funding directed at the Formentera Council, there is another uptick: next year's 9.1 million euros mark an increase of 2.3 million—or 33.1% more than this year.

Joined at the budget unveiling by CiF chair Jaume Ferrer and deputy chair/tax office councillor Bartomeu Escandell, Catalina Cladera, who is regional minister of the tax office and the department of public administrations, during the budget: “This administration is working to reinforce the autonomy of the individual island councils and the 2019 budget is a new example of the decentralising impulse marking this legislative term”.

Concerning investment, which features a 62.5% uptick from instrumental public sector firms placing the 2019 total at 7.2 million euros, highlights include money for educational infrastructure. Among the allocations in this area are 5.9 million euros for the Sant Ferran primary school rebuild and 200,000 to conduct an expansion of IES Marc Ferrer high school.

The region's 2019 budget also covers projects aimed at upgrading water management. One such effort entails changes at Formentera's seawater desalination plant (third line and reservoir, 500,000 euros) while another features 400,000 euros' worth of conservation work on the waste water treatment plant.

The budget also incorporates a brand-new project which enjoys 130,000 euros in funding from the sustainable tourism levy—regulation of moorage at s'Estany des Peix. Another project concerns waste transfer between Formentera and Eivissa (750,000 euros) and yet another a local fund for sustainable mobility (350,000 euros).

The Formentera Council's deputy chairman highlighted the “climate of collaboration” underpinning relations this legislative term between each administration's tax office. “Fair and sufficient” was how Escandell described the Council's current funding package, which he noted included a three-fold increase on the three million euros the administration got in 2007. He also said his overall assessment of the current legislative term “positive”, explaining “we've managed to succeed on nearly all the fronts we set out to push—better funding for waste transfer, coastal surveillance, a new marine reserve, an irrigation pond and sustainable mobility policy”.

Escandell also trumpeted advances during the current term in low-cost housing, as well as investment from the sustainable tourism levy in the form of upgrades in es Pujols and the purchase of Sa Senieta for its future transformation into the headquarters of Formentera's museum. Other hallmarks of collaboration between the two administrations are deals for local-level custodianship of tourism promotion and the Govern's promise to finance 70% of the planned assisted living residence.

Formentera celebrates Dia de la Constitució

foto-dia-constitucio---2018-11Observance of the holiday known as “Dia de la Constitució” (Constitution Day) began on Formentera with celebration of the 40th John Tunks Memorial Mini-marathon. At 10.30am the race's 156 participants set off from Sant Francesc's plaça de la Constitució on a 12K circuit that took them through la Savina, es Pujols and Sant Ferran before finally ending back in Sant Francesc.

Later at 11.30am, the Council's Sala d'Actes was the scene of an address from administration chief Jaume Ferrer, in which he spoke about Formentera's appeal for constitutional reforms allowing the island to have its own dedicated senator. Ferrer, who described the plea as longstanding, said Formentera “is as close as ever to seeing it come true”. The island “deserves to be recognised at the national level and to have its own representation in the upper house as well”, he affirmed.

Ferrer spoke about the path-breaking moment 40 years ago that brought approval for the document, offering “the Constitution teaches us that living together takes hard work from everyone in the process”. That lesson, he said, is all the more clearer in a place like Formentera, “an island where people from a true multiplicity of backgrounds live together”. The president also hailed what he called “the climate of coexistence and respect” present today on the island.

A series of closing performances took place immediately after Ferrer's address. Clara Escandell, Cristian Tur and Pere Serra, students at the island's music and dance school, performed, as did participants in Xomeu Juan's workshop on traditional music, who interpreted a number of pieces from the Eivissa-Formentera musical canon.

Formentera passes 2019 budget

foto 2018 ple nov 1As the full Formentera Council gathered on Friday for the administration's November assembly, one of the session's standout features was a stamp of initial approval for the Council's 2019 budget.

The almost €30.2 million budget passed with “yes” votes from Gent per Formentera and despite PSOE abstention and “no”s from PP and Compromís party members.

Tax office councillor Bartomeu Escandell called the figures for 2019 “balanced and realistic”. “This budget is built around improvement initiatives for our island and towns. The current focus of infrastructure investment is on transformational change in Sant Ferran, but la Savina and es Pujols are at the fore too”. The councillor highlighted construction already under way on Formentera's senior-living residence as well as the soon-to-be completed funeral parlour—which, as Escandell offered, “together with the dependent care facility and hospital, means our endowment of health and human services now promises something we've talked about on Formentera for years: the freedom to be born and die here on the island, and to live out one's years with dignity.

Other measures

The session also brought resolution for a suit with the local delegation of the central government involving approval of the Council's offering of public employment, set to enter in force next year. The motion passed by unanimous consent.

Another object of cross-party support was the devolution of control over gender and LGTBI policy. The same goes, despite PP abstention, for a set of proposed representations from UTE GIREF, which operates Eivissa's Ca Na Putxa, concerning a deal on investment at the waste and organic matter processing plant.

The close of the assembly came with the reading of the administration's manifesto on violence against women, and an intervention from Sònia Cardona, whose words for the assembly touched on initiatives developed from within the department of citizen participation under her direction in 2018, as well as transparency and good governance.

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