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Consell strikes deal for use and revitalisation of Casa del Poble de la Mola

foto 2021 conveni casa del pobleEarlier today Alejandra Ferrer and Vicent Roselló signed a deal whereby local government lets La Mola Neighbourhood Association use the multipurpose administrative spaces and cultural centre known as “Casa del Poble de la Mola” and funds programming to enliven the facilities. The Consell de Formentera president and representative of LMNA were joined at the signing by Vanessa Parellada, chief of the Formentera Department of Citizen Participation.

Under the arrangement, Formentera’s government pledges to help LMNA cover the costs of programming and other services to the tune of €30,000. Meanwhile, LMNA promises to use the money in 2021 for upkeep and other expenses linked to maintaining the Casa’s catalogue of services, not to mention to publicise and support LMNA activities, including through community outreach.

Besides supporting upkeep and services, the aim of the funding is to help LMNA make the surrounding community more socially and culturally dynamic by organising and coordinating non-profit programming at least once a week except in summer. LMNA will also staff the Casa’s computer lab, facilitate access to Casa spaces, give logistical support for Consell-organised events that are held at the Casa, and more.

19 July 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Scheme to count and cap vehicles on local roads extended into June and September

foto 2021 2a sessio CdEThe island’s league of civic associations reconvened last night at 7.30pm to share respective members’ feedback on formentera.eco and two different propositions regarding the scheme’s period of enforcement, a majority of attendees ultimately opting to extend the ceiling on vehicles over a longer period.

Mobility chief Rafael González described the decision by the Consell d’Entitats to extend formentera.eco’s July-August enforcement by a fortnight, including the last week in June and the first week in September, as “unprecedented”.

“Our vision for Formentera is underpinned by sustainability-forward projects like formentera.eco”, said Alejandra Ferrer. “These are crucial because they keep Formentera unique and natural. Plus, they strike a balance between ecology, tourism and the quality of life of islanders — so it’s all the more important that these processes incorporate participatory tools like the Consell d’Entitats.”

All told 29 associations and three political parties were represented at the gathering. The option of elongating the formentera.eco enforcement period secured 16 votes, while each of the other options —keeping regulation limited to July and August, and abstention— obtained half that number. Citizen participation councillor Vanessa Parellada said she was pleased with turnout at both sessions and with how quickly participants took to the virtual format.

Two related sessions of the Consell d’Entitats have been held online amid enhanced tier 4 public health regulations. Attending in person were President Ferrer, Councillor González, Councillor Parellada, a clerk and a senior Department of Citizen Participation staffer, with civic group and political party representatives, together with members of the media, tuning in online.

formentera.eco 2020
Councillor González gave attendees a recap of his presentation from the previous session, highlighting local legislators’ goal, one year prior to formentera.eco rollout, of reducing vehicles on island roads by 16%. Decision makers set yearly -4% benchmarks, hoping to hit the goal gradually over the 2020-2024 term. The incremental goal for 2020 was reached.

formentera.eco 2021

Proposal terms as communicated to Consell d’Entitats:

Reduce ceiling by 4% (relative to 2020 figures)
2019: 22,382
2020: 21,486
2021: 20,591

Regulatory period subject to discussion
The majority of civic groups backed Option 1, extending regulation over the last week in June and into the first week of September.

Fee-based or free of charge? Pending developments in the public health situation.

Councillor González reminded attendees that free advance reservations could be made in the permit request section of the formentera.eco site, which is expected to be back online in March. Bookings will be finalised in May and, pending developments of the pandemic, will be free or subject to payment. The fee-based scheme would see tourists paying €1 a day (€5 minimum) for compact cars and €0.50/day (€2.50 minimum) for motorbikes and scooters, with Formentera residents getting authorisation free of charge.

Authorisation is also 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, like encouraging islanders to use public transport or a bike, and enlisting communications tools to spotlight sustainable ways to get around the island.

23 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

This 2020, Consell d’Entitats’ participatory spending rerouted to help local families get through crisis

On behalf of the local cabinet, Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer addressed a letter to the associations of the Consell d’Entitats to applaud their solidarity and generosity: after submitting projects to the island’s Pressupostos Participatius (Participatory Spending) initiative, member groups accepted a proposal from the cabinet to “invest the initiative’s 2020 budget of €325,000 in assistance for individuals and businesses, part of a bid to soften the economic blow of the crisis on Formentera families and leave no one behind”.

As individuals and from positions within local groups, islanders are offering to help any way they can. Take the parents’ group at Mestre Lluís Andreu primary school, which contacted the Formentera Department of Citizen Participation to suggest that the 2020 Pressupostos Participatius budget be freed up for investment in social causes. The department connected with the other groups that had submitted ideas for this year’s round of the initiative, and according to President Ferrer, the response was unanimous: today, the priority is those most in need.

Pressupostos Participatius invites Formentera-based groups to not only participate in administering local public spending, but at the same time, learn about the workings of government and management of public money. Similar to the local government’s own budgetary retooling, the proposed change unfolds against a backdrop of transforming priorities, and speaks both to the maturity of the Consell d’Entitats and to the humanity and solidarity of Formentera’s associations. “We’re enormously proud of you”, said Ferrer.

The money—€325,000 previously earmarked for 2020 Pressupostos Participatius—will be allocated for assistance. Projects that won the Consell d’Entitats’ support in previous years remain on track for execution as soon as the current situation permits.

Other budgetary changes
Many individuals, families and businesses on Formentera are already feeling the grave economic consequences of the health crisis. The central and regional governments alike have implemented various measures, including a Guaranteed Social Income (Renda Social Garantida), renter’s assistance and programmes to help businesses and freelancers obtain liquidity.

The Consell is working hard to keep islanders informed about available assistance and to process applications, simultaneously taking steps to extend how far its own resources go to help at-risk families. All branches of the island’s administration are now engaged in work on a package of measures to ease the pressure of fees and levies assessed at the local level. A budgetary retooling is in the works that will free up a maximum amount of available resources for much needed assistance.

Go-ahead recently came from Madrid so that the Consell could divert €200,000 of its 2019 surplus to social assistance. The local government has asked for permission to use the whole surplus to that end.

21 April 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Road to sustainability—island prepares to reactivate formentera.eco to limit in-bound vehicles in July and August

foto-segona-sessio---consell-e3The Consell d’Entitats reconvened today, Thursday 6 February, in the second of two sessions devised to appraise member groups of plans for formentera.eco in 2020. After an initial gathering last week where the proposal was unveiled, today’s session saw groups get answers to some of their questions surrounding the measure and a vote on exactly when “regulated vehicle entry” will be enforced in 2020.

Citizen participation councillor Vanessa Parellada oversaw the event, which administration chief Alejandra Ferrer kicked off with a look back at the “three-pronged sustainable tourism strategy” used by Formentera to court visitors in recent years. “We’re talking about making the island economically, ecologically and socially sustainable”, said Ferrer, “it’s a brand of sustainability that’s grounded in quality of life—and not just for residents, but also with regard to the experience of our visitors”. “Since the very start, formentera.eco has been about keeping Formentera special; maintaining what sets us apart from other destinations; preserving our sense of tranquility; making sure that people can continue to enjoy the island today and for generations to come”.

formentera.eco 2020
For his part, mobility councillor Rafael González indicated that the ceiling on vehicles will likely be lowered by 4% in 2020. Last year the official limit was 22,382, however, only 21,929 motorists were given authorisation to drive cars on the island. The official limit this year will be 21,487. The question of when regulation would be enforced was also put to attendees of the meeting. After comments were heard, participants put the issue to a vote, agreeing to reinstate enforcement from 1 July to 31 August 2020, namely, peak tourist season.

Visitors must pay €1/day for cars and 50 cents for motor-scooters (minimums—€5 for the former and €2.50 for the latter—are also established). Permission to bring a vehicle and operate it on the island can be requested in advance. Such “pre-reservations” (prereserves) can be made from March on the formentera.eco website and formalised starting in April. Authorisation is guaranteed for people who have already reserved overnight lodging or ferry tickets for vehicle passage. A specific portal will be made available for related inquiries on formentera.eco.

Highlighting “a clear path forward this legislative term for an orderly and gradual reduction of highway saturation”, Councillor González indicated that the upper limit on permitted vehicles was expected to fall by four per cent every year—or 16% in four years. Discussion also centred on upgrades ahead to public transport—part of making sure that, for islanders and tourists alike, mobility becomes increasingly sustainable.

6 February 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Deadline extended for Participatory Spending proposals

foto-2020-consell-d-entitats1Formentera’s office of citizen participation has rolled back the clock on its previous deadline for project ideas in the 2020 round of “Participatory Spending” (Pressupostos Participatius), signalling that island groups will have until 10 February to submit proposals. Nineteen proposals came in before the original application period concluded on Friday 31 January.

As citizen participation councillor Vanessa Parellada put it: “Precious little time remained in January by the time the holidays had wound down, and we wanted to make the submission process as easy, inclusive and dynamic as possible”. Parellada called on local groups to “share their bright ideas on how to make Formentera a better place”.

Groups have until 10 February 2020 to submit proposals to www.conselldeformentera.cat (AKA the OVAC, or Virtual Citizen’s Information Office) or in person at the OAC (carrer de Ramon Llull, 6, Sant Francesc Xavier). The citizen participation office has sent out a template proposal to Formentera groups to facilitate the application process. Results will be announced at a late-February or early-March session of the Council of Entities (Consell d’Entitats) once proposals have been reviewed and, if necessary, legal and technical appreciations formulated. The Formentera government has allocated €325,000 to fund Participatory Spending projects in 2020.

3 February 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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