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15 years helping foreign-born islanders finesse cultural and social integration

cartell 2021 curs integracioThe Formentera Department of Social Welfare announces open enrolment from 18 to 26 February for the course on social and cultural integration. Classes in this round of the twice yearly course run 4-30 March. Students who complete the course successfully receive a report from the Balearic government accrediting the holder’s efforts towards integration, and classes serve to prepare individuals who take the CCSE citizenship test. Conducted over 20 hours in two weekly sessions, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4.30 to 7.00pm, the course will be held in Formentera’s adult learning centre.

Trumpeting the Consell’s commitment to the integration of foreign-born islanders, FDSW chief Rafael Ramírez described the course as “yet another tool to help people get there”, not to mention “a path to proper handling of administrative paperwork”.

As in October, public health imperatives mean class size will go from 15 to 12, and spaces will be awarded by order of enrolment. Individuals interested in signing up should inquire at the social welfare office by telephone (971.321.271) or email (immigració@conselldeformentera.cat).

Topics covered by course facilitator Dolores Fernández Tamargo will include Spain's constitutional values, human rights and civil liberties, the Balearic Statute of Autonomy, the European Union and gender equality, among others.


16 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Consell d’Entitats weighs formentera.eco scheme to regulate in-bound vehicles

foto 2021 CdE 1Members of the island’s league of civic leaders gathered yesterday at 7.30pm to take stock of 2020 figures for formentera.eco and assess the latest plan to limit vehicles on the island. When the Consell d’Entitats reconvenes next Monday, attendees will share feedback from respective groups and render their verdict concerning the project’s definitive approval.

With enhanced tier 4 public health orders in place, in-person participants at the encounter were limited to Consell de Formentera chief Alejandra Ferrer, mobility chair Rafael González, citizen participation chair Vanessa Parellada, a clerk and a senior Formentera Department of Citizen Participation staffer. Representatives of civic groups and political parties, together with members of the media, tuned in online.

Over thirty association members logged on for the Consell d’Entitats’ first treatment of formentera.eco. President Ferrer applauded the strong showing, calling the turn-out “crucial to making sure Formentera’s longstanding march toward sustainability is shaped by both political and economic stakeholders”. Ferrer confided that “2020 was very tough, and 2021 will be too”, but asserted abandoning hard-fought gains was a non-starter: “Backpedaling on our vision for Formentera is out of the question.”

Ferrer pointed to “unique visitor experience” as imperative, and said the secret to Formentera’s setting itself apart lay in “protecting heritage sites, traditions, culture and our physical landscapes”. “Vibrant tourism and a growing economy need to translate to better quality of life for Formentera residents”, insisted the première, “and to get there, projects like formentera.eco are essential.”

formentera.eco 2020
Presentation of 2020 formentera.eco figures fell to the Formentera Department of Mobility chief Rafael González. One year prior to the scheme’s rollout, local legislators aspired to ultimately see a 16% drop, punctuated by yearly -4% benchmarks, in the total number of in-bound vehicles, intending for the figure to be reached gradually over the 2020-2024 term. All told, 19,725 motorists got the green-light from formentera.eco in 2020, just shy of the established maximum of 21,487.

For twenty days starting 5 August and in the heat of the summer rush, visiting motorists claimed more than 95% of the total permits available to them (formentera.eco authorisations ran out altogether for the four-day period starting 13 August). The island generally managed to avoid maxing out entirely, Ramírez said, highlighting the decision to lower the permit ceiling for resident drivers in an effort to temper fallout from the pandemic. As the councillor put it, “What the figures show is that, the Covid crisis notwithstanding, regulation is still necessary”.

formentera.eco 2021
Proposal terms as communicated to Consell d’Entitats:
-4% ceiling reduction (relative to 2020 figures)
2019: 22,382
2020: 21,486
2021: 20,591
-Regulatory period subject to discussion:
Option 1: Last week in June until first week in September
Option 2: July and August
-Fee-based or free of charge?

Free advance reservations can be made in the permit request section of the formentera.eco site, expected to go online again in March. Bookings will be finalised in May and, pending developments of the pandemic, will be free or subject to payment. Permits are guaranteed for travellers with bookings for overnight accommodations or arrangements to travel with a personal vehicle made before March.

Sustainable mobility
By González’s lights, “the formentera.eco endgame is a brand of sustainable mobility where foot traffic, bikes and public transport all gain ground against cars”. He pointed to a number of routes forward on the path to sustainability:

Public transport
-€100,000 to restore Formentera public transport to the 2019, pre-Covid level.
-Free rides for people under 18 and dependent individuals plus companions.
-Public transport by taxi: engage chauffeurs’ association in discussion of proposed increase in seasonal licences as needed. Ride-hailing services prohibited.
Promoting bicycles
-Complete bike lane in Port of La Savina.
-Encourage pedestrian and bicycle travel on Camí de sa Guia between La Savina and Ses Illetes.
-Revamp parking and expand cycling zones at Ses Salines reserve.
-Encourage pedestrian and cyclist travel on Camí des Brolls linking La Savina and Sant Francesc with Es Pujols.
-Subsidies on purchases of traditional and electric bikes. (€15,000 in funding already available).
Communications
-Website and app Próximo Ferry provides arriving travellers with information about public buses
-Local sustainable mobility and formentera.eco information stand in Port of La Savina.
-“Metrominut” maps/leaflets featuring distances and travel times between Port of La Savina and Ses Illetes/Es Pujols/Sant Francesc to promote pedestrian and cycling options.

16 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Researchers studying sustainable nautical uses of posidonia meadows unveil findings

foto 2021 posidoniaThe Formentera Tourism Department and the Formentera Environment Department report that online audiences got a first look yesterday at a joint effort by GEN-GOB and Soldecocos to explore nautical practices that favour the sustainability of posidonia seagrass — an idea with roots in the Consell de Formentera-backed Save Posidonia Project’s 2017 call for proposals.

FED chief Antonio J. Sanz said continued research in the field was “every bit as key as the ongoing effort to safeguard this crucial part of the local ecosystem”. A total of €112,000 will go to winning SPP submissions in 2021, said Sanz, who drew attention to the 11 proposals already received. “Since launching, SPP has meant protection for 252,000 square metres of seagrass”, he pointed out, asserting, “There’s an increasing amount of awareness around the issue.”

The study’s general aim is to expand government’s reach to the sea — inquiring into how the sea and locally protected sites are managed and used; weighing the toll of moorage; formulating a consensus-based assessment of the ecological health of seagrass meadows; training students and study administrators and stewarding vulnerable undersea habitats located in posidonia meadows.

GEN-GOB’s Xisco Sobrado and Immaculada Martínez, of Soldecocos, led the presentation, which drew from two separate studies: one, a progress report on posidonia conservation and protection so far; the other, a look at the impact of anchoring watercraft on posidonia meadows on the Formentera coast.

General consensus re: posidonia virtues
Ecology, culture, the economy and identity were among the factors that came up most frequently when social and professional stakeholders were queried about posidonia’s importance. Researchers also underscored general consensus around the value of posidonia, and the potentially crucial role of social participation in improving governance and decision-making on the issue.

Five hundred 26-metre ships daily on Formentera shores
The study also mentions recreational watercraft, “a source of considerable pressure on Formentera’s seafloor”. Such vessels are present in spades in summer, particularly August, when moorage points number between 14,000 and 24,000 and five hundred 26-metre ships dot the coast any given day on average. One per cent of these ships are believed to anchor on seagrass, with the most dramatic impact observed on the western shore of Illetes and at Cala Saona. Researchers named motorboats, yachts and sailboats between 6 and 195 metres long (26 metres on average) among the offending craft. The average boat length is 12 metres.

SPP’s other winning proposal, ‘Antroposi’ by Imedea, is a look at the direct effect of human activity on posidonia meadows, Findings are due shortly.

12 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Formentera ditches permits for remodels with no change to surface area

The Formentera Land Department reminds property-owners of non-heritage sites that, short of add-ons, improvements may be performed as early as ten days after notifying the administration of intent. “Whether notice is given in-person at the OAC or online on the OVAC”, said land chief Rafael González, “work can start within ten days if the surface area isn’t affected.”

Minor work on non-heritage sites can begin just one day after plans are communicated. “The idea is to simplify legwork on projects that don’t involve expanded square metres”, said Ramírez. “We wanted to make things easier for regular islanders and construction firms”, he added, highlighting hopes the change would serve to lighten the workload of the FLD.

Permit fee rebates
Until 30 April, “Formentera, every corner counts” seeks to offer pandemic relief and re-energise the local economy and hometown construction firms by offering a full rebate of fees for small works permits and a 95% rebate on fees for standard project permits.

11 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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