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Consell endorses fully subsidised bus fare in 2023 and presses health authority for Basic Health Unit in La Mola

foto 2022xi pleToday members of local government gathered for the November full-house assembly of the Consell de Formentera, securing backing for fully state-subsidised fare for seasonal and multi-journey bus tickets in 2023; a Basic Health Unit in El Pilar de la Mola; road upgrades, and a local astronomical observatory. On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, councillors issued an official proclamation and observed a minute of silence.

Subsidised bus transport
Councillors from all parties came together to back a proposal for fully state-subsidised seasonal and multi-trip bus tickets in 2023. "The central government's budgets already provide a line item to finance regular public bus transport", explained Rafael González, councillor of mobility, who presented the proposal, "hence, regular riders and holders of multi-journey tickets, whether residents or visitors, will be able to travel free of charge throughout 2023".

"In this way we hope to keep maximising sustainable mobility on our island, reducing our carbon footprint and helping families and individuals better cope with rising prices", he added. From 1 September to 31 December 2022, public transport on Formentera is free for residents thanks to funding from the Consell de Formentera (50%) and regional (30%) and central governments (20%), respectively. Tourists enjoy a 70% discount thanks to funding from the Consell (20%) and the central (30%) and regional governments (20%), respectively.

Basic Health Unit in El Pilar de la Mola
Cabinet councillors overcame opposition abstention to pass a compromise proposal urging the regional health authority to create a Basic Health Unit (UBS) in El Pilar de la Mola, and pressing the Consell de Formentera to review local regulations and determine its location. Rafael Ramírez, councillor of social welfare, pointed out that "our growing local population has created a need for more workers at our hospital and the increased accessibility of certain services for patients who live in remote areas".

Roads
The day's session also came with cross-party backing for a Sa Unió proposal to urge the Consell de Formentera to include an item in the 2023 budget for upgraded road surfaces, including at the main access points to tourist areas.

Astronomical observatory
Decision-makers again united in support of a Sa Unió proposal, expanded by the cabinet, to create a local astronomical observatory. Councillors urged the Consell de Formentera to continue with all audits and actions necessary to obtain StarLight certification from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) and to use future audit reports to site construction or adaptation of a suitable space for the facility.

Department report from Alejandra Ferrer
Today Alejandra Ferrer, vice-president and councillor of tourism, appeared before assembly members. In tourism marketing, she highlighted 2020's Promoting and Reactivating Tourism Plan, updated annually, which sets basic guidelines like "promoting sustainable mobility, reviving rural areas and safeguarding culture and heritage" as well as guiding tenets like "social equilibrium, economic improvement and environmental protections". In marketing events, meanwhile, the Formentera Office of Tourism has attended domestic and international trade shows, workshops and presentations and focused on sustainability, local products, collaboration between administrations and the importance of reducing the seasonal nature of Formentera's economy, among other issues.

In planning, Ferrer highlighted her offices' work with the local tourism sector to tailor the Balearic administration's Tourism Act to the needs of Formentera. Vice President Ferrer held up an exception that was made to unlock 50 overnight permits on Formentera for families and small businesses that had already invested money and performed work. Ferrer noted that the Formentera Data Observatory opened in 2019 and in 2022 issued its first-ever "barometers" for residents, business and tourist satisfaction. "These data help improve not only our qualities as a destination and our visitors' degree of satisfaction, but also our residents' quality of life", she explained.

Official proclamation for 25 November
Lastly, Ana Juan, president and councillor of equality, read a declaration endorsed by the entire assembly that reaffirms the Consell de Formentera's commitment to feminism, gender equality and the war on gender violence: "Only a society in which women do not suffer gender-based violence can be considered completely free. Only a democracy free of male violence is a full democracy."

25 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

TSJB upholds regulation of Estany des Peix and rejects precautionary suspension requested by business group

The High Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands (TSJB) has issued an order denying the injunction requested by an association of businesses and individuals that use Estany des Peix which would have involved suspending the initial approval of anchorage rules at the lake.

The order highlights the fact that the public has a particularly salient interest in ensuring the rules are enforced. As for the reasons for rejecting the requested precautionary measures, the TSJB states that "the defendant's safeguarding of the natural surroundings of Estany des Peix comes before the interests -clearly economic in nature- of parties which rent watercraft anchored in these waters".

The TSJB considers that "the general and public interest resides in the interests defended by the Administration, since the Natural Space Use and Management Plan (PRUG) prohibits the boat rental activities that the appellant association intends to continue in the event the requested precautionary measure were applied. As a matter of fact, the previously approved and presently challenged precautionary measure is designed to guarantee the environmental protection of Estany des Peix".

The court notes that "protection of areas in the EU's Natura 2000 Network has an unquestionable impact on general interests, because this means that what the Administration seeks to preserve in light of its ecological significance remains in jeopardy". "The private interests defended by the appellant association -for instance, adversity faced by owners of boats that anchor in these waters- do not have the same level or rank of the general and public interests in preserving this important environmental site", the text states.

25 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Remembrance of Francisco Solano and all victims of Franco's regime at La Savina penitentiary

foto 2022xi cementiriThis Monday, Ana Juan, president of the Consell de Formentera, and Francina Armengol, president of the Balearic Government, visited the Sant Francesc Cemetery, where excavations and exhumations by Aranzadi Science Society as part of the regional administration's third Mass Graves Plan (2021-2022), have made it possible to identify Francisco Solano Vera, the first person to perish at La Savina penal colony during the Franco regime. Also on hand for the visit were Alejandra Ferrer, vice president, and cabinet councillors of the Consell de Formentera; Jesús Jurado, director general of democratic memory in the Balearics, and Antonio J. Sanz, the provincial councillor for Formentera. Historian Antoni Ferrer Abárzuza also participated in the explanations.

President Juan remarked, "Eighty years have passed since Francisco Solano died in inhuman conditions at the Formentera prison; it is time for his remains to be buried in his home in Cartagena". Juan described the moment as one of reparation for memory and democratic justice, and praised the Govern balear, Consell de Formentera, researchers and associations that "fight and work to put to rights the memory of the victims of Franco's regime".

Last Thursday, the regional government identified remains recovered in April at the Sant Francesc Cemetery as those of Francisco Solano after having compared samples obtained in the exhumation with the DNA given by two of the deceased's daughters.

Solano is not only the first victim of Franco's repression to be identified on Formentera, but also the first victim identified in the Balearic Islands from outside the archipelago.

The identification of the Cartagena native also confirms that the bodies recovered in April during phase one of excavations and exhumations at Sant Francesc Cemetery, which presented characteristics compatible with six victims of the prison, belong to the other people who died in captivity in Franco's military camp.

As approved by the administration's mass graves and missing persons committee, the Balearic Government will commission a second intervention at Sant Francesc Cemetery as part of the fourth Mass Graves Plan (2022-2023) spearheaded by the Balearic Secretariat of Democratic Memory.

The goal is to pinpoint the remains of as many victims as possible. In a study conducted by Antoni Ferrer Abárzuza as part of the second Mass Graves Plan, the Ibizan historian concluded that as many as 58 individuals —most from Extremadura and Murcia, but also Madrid, Catalonia, the Canary Islands, Valencia and the Balearic Islands— perished at La Savina penitentiary due to food shortages and unsanitary conditions between 1940 and 1942.

Crews will focus on the back area of the cemetery esplanade –down row 6, where Solano's remains were found– because signs indicate it was there that the prison's dead were interred. Plots near the entrance were apparently reserved for ordinary burials.


21 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Formentera's new haemodialysis service launches today

foto 2022xi dialisi BWork on new emergency response base to conclude in one year

Today Ana Juan, president of the Consell de Formentera, and Francina Armengol, president of the Balearic Government, together with Patricia Gómez, regional minister of health and consumer affairs, visited Formentera's newly launched haemodialysis service. Alejandra Ferrer, vice president, was on hand as well, along with local cabinet councillors and Formentera's provincial councillor Antonio J. Sanz.

This new service occupies 50 square meters in the Formentera Hospital, where four dialysis stations and a new water plant have been installed. The regional government has invested roughly €600,000 in the service roll-out, with two-thirds of the sum going to purchase technical equipment and the rest covering recruitment of equipment operators.

To activate the service, the district health authority (Àrea de Salut) of Eivissa and Formentera hired an expert nephrologist, which brought the total number of nephrologist department specialists to five, then dispatched one of them to Formentera to oversee haemodialysis there. The service roll-out will mean Formentera's three current dialysis patients need no longer travel to Can Misses Hospital for treatment, saving the Formentera residents approximately one thousand trips per year.

Ana Juan: "Delivering on long-standing demands"
President Juan said the hemodialysis service and new 061 base made good on "two historical local demands": "This demonstrates that we continue to meet objectives and commitments". Juan described the two services as "essential" and said they "strengthen public health on the island and, in the case of haemodialysis, will save Formentera residents from having to travel to Eivissa for treatment".

€2.8-million emergency response base
The officials also sat for a presentation of Formentera's new operational base of the Emergency Medical Service (SAMU061). The SAMU061 launch came after the Governing Council approved the works contract for an estimated €2,771,290.89 and once the Technical Supervision Office of the district health authority OK'd the project.

The Balearic government has started work on the base in parallel with the unprecedented local roll-out of permanent haemodialysis service. Until last year, Formentera had an advanced life support ambulance in summer and a basic life support ambulance year round. Since September, 061 reinforcements, including the advanced life support ambulance, have been maintained to meet the needs of the local population.

Construction began in early November, with the new base, which will be located next to Formentera Hospital, expected to be operational by late 2023.

Plans for the project were designed by a team including David Bravo and Toni Abril in the architectural office of the district health authority. Bravo and Abril used a model to present the project to visitors.

During the visit, attendees commemorated the start of works by burying a time capsule containing mementos of significant events at Formentera Hospital.

The newly created 890-m2 base will be divided into two internally connected floors. The ground floor will occupy 605 m2, while the first floor (285 m2) will be flanked by a four-vehicle capacity parking area for ambulances.

The new facility will have three on-site resources:

Basic Life Support Unit
Advanced Life Support Unit
Non-emergency Medical Transport Unit

Human resources challenges dictate that the five on-site professionals will be in transit, with possibility of staff expansion.


21 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Participatory event to promote comprehensive plans for elderly and people with functional diversity

The Formentera Office of Social Welfare (Conselleria de Benestar Social, CBS) is pleased to report that Monday 21 November, the Consell de Formentera auditorium will be the scene of a participatory event on two CBS-backed projects: the Comprehensive Plan for the Elderly and Comprehensive Plan for People with Functional Diversity of Formentera.

Rafael Ramírez, councillor of social welfare, encouraged islanders to participate: "These are important plans that will serve as a roadmap in the years ahead for local government's efforts in these areas and at every level". In the words of Ramírez, "this is about designing the Formentera we want for our elders and for people with disabilities".

One part of crafting the plans is a participatory diagnosis, where all stakeholders can give their vision of how Formentera is now and what to do in the future.

Sessions will take place Monday 21 November in the Consell de Formentera auditorium (Sala de Plens). Mornings will be for individuals who will be directly involved and affected by the plans, with afternoons reserved for family members and islanders at large who wish to contribute their vision and experience.

- 9.00am - 11.00am: senior citizens
- 11.00am - 1.00pm: people with functional diversity
- 4.00pm - 5.30pm: families of elderly people
- 5.30pm - 7.00pm: families of people with functional diversity

An additional session on Tuesday 22 November will involve technicians and professionals in these areas to complement the diagnosis.

Individuals interested in participating can phone the Formentera Day Centre: 971 32 16 17.


18 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

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