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From Monday, islanders in remote homes near Sant Ferran, la Savina and es Caló can request P.O. box

foto-bu--sties-sant-ferran1The president's office of the Formentera Council announces that from February 11 to March 31 islanders living in homes in rural areas near Sant Ferran, la Savina and es Caló can request a post office box at the pick-up point recently set up at carrer Mallorca, 15, in Sant Ferran.

The idea is to make it possible for islanders living in es Brolls, ses Salines, es Molí de s'Estany, sa Punta, es Pi des Català, ses Roques, Migjorn, es Carnatge and ses Clotades the chance to pick up their post at the new station.

Department head Bartomeu Escandell said the initiative followed “the popularity of P.O. boxes in la Mola and es Cap de Barbaria” not to mention “requests the service be extended across Formentera so that islanders who don't get door-to-door delivery can skip the trip to the Sant Francesc Correus location”.

Anyone who wishes to apply for one of the 150 available P.O. boxes will need either to visit the Citizen Information Office (OAC) in Sant Francesc and fill out a form or complete the process online on the OVAC. After March 31, the Council will inform islanders when their keys—one to get into the shopfront, another to open their individual box—are ready for pick-up.

One box will be assigned per household. Applicants must present proof they are on the island's register of residents (padró) and a photocopy of government-issued photo ID. They must also pay €25.

Plenary assembly moves closer to regulating tourism statutes

foto-ple-gener-20191Today local decision makers gathered for the Formentera Council's monthly plenary session, a gathering that was marked by new motions to regulate tourism which will enable additional lodging to be classed for holiday rental.

Participants came together to give initial approval to a tweaking of a tax bylaw underpinning a levy related to administrative services in tourism. Department head Alejandra Ferrer described the new mechanism as “a €300 fee, valid five years, for administrative processing of a vacation rental permit” and a “€150 fee for remodels”.

Unanimous backing was also secured for a bylaw regulating the per-bed cost of permits to rent out accommodation. “Each household will be charged €70 per year per bed”, explained Councillor Ferrer, “plus five per cent for each additional bed”. Hence, the first bed will require payment of a €70 fee; the fee for a second bed will be €70 plus five per cent (€73.5); a third bed, €73.5 plus five per cent, and so forth. The maximum cost is set at €119.72 for twelfth beds.

Cross-party support was scored by the first vote on the so-called “Plan for Quality in Vacation Rentals” which involves setting guidelines for single- and multi-family homes. Ferrer described the Pla de Qualitat d'Estades Turístiques as “baseline standards for furniture, hygiene and the conditions that a particular home must comply with to be eligible”. Some of the guidelines contemplated within the Consell d'Entitats would require homes to use renewable energy, or provide space to park a bicycle. Twenty-six of the preconditions are non-negotiable; other criteria, of which there are 20, would be applied distinctly, and only 14 would be required for a dwelling to be eligible for rental.

One last order of business on tourism, a measure to modify a piece of legislation already approved by the Govern balear, scored approval as well. Councillor Ferrer described the measure as “covering a large swath of the 'Plan for Quality' preconditions as well as the non-negotiable parts of the regional tourism legislation such as possessing a 'habitability cell' or other similar document; presence of stand-alone water metres; and other green measures”. Councillors sought summary treatment of the motion, which passed with “yes” votes of the senior councillors from Gent per Formentera, the abstention of the Socialists and Compromís and “no” votes from PP party members.

Other measures

Assembly members were united in their support of the terms of a 2019 partnership between the Formentera Council and the island's Audiovisual Cultural Association (ACAF) regarding content for Ràdio Illa, Formentera's public radio station.

Cross-party support also came for a proposal to adhere to two regional protocols concerning children, one on sexual abuse (ASI) and another on sexual exploitation (ESI). The Council participated in drafting the proposed measures, which CiF social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada said included “one in particular that streamlines coordination between branches of the public administration that intervene in cases of child abuse or sexual exploitation”. According to the councillor, “it is imperative that we act with minors' best interest in mind and that the Council continue working to raise awareness among local groups about this issue”.

The assembly also came with unanimous support for two proposals formulated by PP party members. The first calls on Madrid to modify its spending plan for 2019 to include more money for local road upgrades. The second would urge the government in Palma to fund a direct line of school transport between Sant Ferran and Sant Francesc as well as improved general funding for Formentera schools.

Cross-party backing was likewise given to a Socialist measure to urge the Formentera Council to “put in place a push to educate dog owners about the need to use leads”.

Report to the assembly

Mobility councillor Rafael González appeared before the assembly to give account of his departments' operations during the current legislative term. He drew particular attention to the regulation of vehicle ingress, which he described as “of the most time- and energy-consuming initiatives under [his] charge, including for other members of the assembly, outside entities, staff and collaborators”. The work has given way to “a piece of legislation for Formentera's environmental and financial sustainability”.

After describing the path to approval, González described forward efforts to take up more small-bore aspects of the measure, such as:
-the application period
-the nature of the vehicle cap
-an associated fee, as well as discounts and exemptions
-the processing portal
-permits and decals
The councillor announced that the week of March 4-8, gatherings would be convened with the Consell d'Entitats and the so-called “Spokespersons' Committee” (Junta de Portaveus) to explain the proposed parameters of application.

González added: “If approval is secured, we'll be on track to have a system of regulation in place in time for the high-traffic summer months”. Until then, the councillor asked for optimism and patience “while the administration works on delivering on the proposal”.

Unanimous support also came for the administration declaration on World Cancer Day, Monday February 4.

Formentera hails passing of legislation for island's environmental and financial sustainability

parlament 2018Jaume Ferrer, Bartomeu Escandell, Rafael González and Daisee Aguilera (the Formentera Council's chair, deputy chair, mobility councillor and environment councillor, respectively) attended the regional parliament's plenary assembly, where the political parties and MPs of the chamber voted unanimously to pass a law for Formentera's environmental and financial sustainability.

“Today is a very important day for Formentera. Parlament voted to give the island a tool to decide how many vehicles we want on the island”, explained President Ferrer, who noted the origins of the project could be traced “back to September 2014 with the Consell d'Entitats”. “Make no mistake”, said the CiF chief, “the authority that legislators have handed us today will be used wisely and we will remain ever mindful of that original spirit at the Consell d'Entitats”.

Ferrer indicated the rollout effort would began tomorrow. “This is an authority we have been unable to exercise until now. Obviously, there's been work behind the scenes to ensure this didn't catch anybody by surprise, but much remains to be done, and we'll see real discussion about how it will be applied in the coming days”.

“Let's take today to show appreciation for this new mechanism and the progress it means for Formentera”, said the CiF chair, adding “we hope regulated vehicle entry doesn't step on anyone's toes. The idea is to create an environment in which everyone who visits Formentera can enjoy it for what people expect it to be: a tranquil setting of stunning natural beauty”.

“For five years there's been consensus among islanders that a glut of vehicles could threaten the image we show tourists and on which our livelihood depends. This legislation will make it possible for us to continue as a tranquil island that tourists want to visit and where residents want to live”.

Formentera hosts seventh first ministers' conference

foto-confere--ncia-presidents 2The Formentera Council hosted today the Conferència de Presidents, or “Conference of Presidents”, which saw the participation of the presidents, or first ministers, from across the Balearics: Francina Armengol (Balearic Islands), Jaume Ferrer (Formentera), Vicent Torres (Eivissa), Susana Mora (Menorca) and Miquel Ensenyat (Mallorca). Other Govern officials present for the event were deputy first minister and innovation, research and tourism minister Bel Busquets; chief of the first minister's office Pilar Costa, and land, energy and mobility minister Marc Pons.

The group met with members of the press after the gathering, where President Ferrer thanked the officials and media reps for their efforts, particularly on a day like Monday. He reminded everyone of the date the conference was originally scheduled —November 26— and how a storm that battered the Mediterranean that day meant it had to be postponed. “Sometimes chance is on your side and sometimes it isn't”, said Ferrer, “once again today wind and rough seas have thrown our port's ability to stay open  into doubt, but that is a faithful representation of how things go here”.

As to the content of the meeting, Ferrer referred to tomorrow's predicted approval in parliament of legislation that sets out emergency measures for environmental and tourism sustainability on Formentera. He described the legislation as fruit of “a years long effort” and “broad political and social support successfully brokered via the island's league of community leaders”. The local first minister highlighted the approval offered by that entity —the Consell d'Entitats (“Council of Entities”)— for the regional land ministry's draft legislation. “If we manage to secure approval tomorrow we'll be very happy”, said Ferrer, “Formentera residents have long advocated for the ability to regulate vehicle ingress, especially in the high season”.

'One for the Councils'
For her part, Govern first minister Armengol welcomed the “spirit of inter-administration collaboration that will lay the groundwork for Parlament's support tomorrow for a pioneering law on Formentera's environmental and financial sustainability”. “We're cutting dangerous emissions and attending the needs of local residents” explained Armengol, “and we've also included €350,000 in direct help for public transport and private transport alternatives”.

The presidenta of the Govern also underscored the administrations' efforts this legislative term around “funding upgrades, power hand-offs, improved inter-administration collaboration and this, the seventh 'Conferència de Presidents'”. All of which are clear signs, she said, “that this legislative session is one for the Councils”.

Formentera repairs outer cemetery walls

fossa-vell-pintades-21The Formentera Council is beginning work on the wall that encircles the Sant Francesc cemetery, known as el Fossar Vell. Crews brought in by the administration will paint over the political graffiti on the façade and then spread on limestone whitening solution to restore the edifice to its normal appearance.

Susana Labrador, the CiF's culture and patrimony councillor, made the announcement earlier today, encouraging islanders to “respect sites like this one that are part of a history and heritage which belongs to all of us”.

The cemetery is included in the Eivissa-Formentera bishopric and the Council looks after its maintenance in order to keep it in good condition and share this part of the island's history with residents. In fact, an arrangement between the bishopric and the Council allows the cemetery to remain open for public visits Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am to 2.00pm.

El Fossar Vell, literally “the Old Burial Ground”, has been around since 1757 and was used until 1940. It is listed as a cultural interest site in the island's catalogue of historic monuments.

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