Posts Tagged ‘ibiza news’

Ibiza’s municipality news for August

August 13th, 2009

ibiza townIbiza Town

Cosmopolitan Eivissa

People from 102 countries call Eivissa, the island’s capital, home. Looking at the numbers, the largest foreign collective is from Ecuador with 2,117 people and Rumania with 1,947. The number of British citizens climbed from 357 to 364, while Germans rose from 611 to 627. What is conspicuous in the new statistics from April 2009 is the decline in numbers of Argentineans (down eight percent) and Uruguayans (down almost six percent). Overall the number of residents in Eivissa rose just shy of one percent to 50,576 compared to last year.

Money for rehabilitating sa Penya

Eivissa has a good chance of receiving a generous share of the €12.5 million neighbourhood rehabilitation plan (Plan de Actuacion, Ley de Barrios) from the regional government. The Balearic Islands Minister for Housing, Jaume Carbonero, said during his visit to Ibiza in July that “the sa Penya neighbourhood is one of the most problematic” on the island. Exactly how the funds will be distributed for this two year plan will be settled in August.

ibiza townSan Jose

Tax and rubbish fees for ruins

Almost four years after the collapse of the Vista Alegre apartment complex in es Cubells, the Sant Josep municipality is still demanding payment of property taxes (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles, Ibi) and charging fees for rubbish collection. It is the latter that leaves a particularly unpleasant aftertaste in the mouth of attorney Josep Lluis Rios, who represents about 60 percent of the former owners. “My clients are being billed for a service that they cannot even utilise.” According to Mr. Rios the municipality collects about €9.000 each year through these fees.

Food budget for 2009 already spent

In just six weeks the social budget for food for the needy was completely spent. This happened although the budget was more than doubled over the past few years from €300.000 to €00.000. Pilar Ferrero, councillor in charge, said, “The situation is very serious.” It is mainly the unemployed who are forced to come to the city and ask for food assistance. However, she did report, “The situation has improved since the start of the season. The question now remains how long that will continue.”

ibiza townSanta Eulalia

Weak start to the season

According to Santa Eularia’s Councillor for Tourism, Carmen Ferrer, this year’s season started with several downturns as compared to last year. These were mostly due to the devaluation of the British Pound and the general crisis in Great Britain overall. Additionally, it has been observed that holidaymakers are spending less money than in past year’s. Ms. Ferrer called on all the tourism related businesses in the municipality to provide their customers and guests with the best possible service.

Private clinic presented in Jesus

A private hospital project in Jesús was presented to the public for the first time in July. Businessman Juan Tur Vinas is planning to build an 80 bed clinic near to the football pitch. Plans call for several surgery departments and a critical care unit among other things. According to the investors study the island would profit from an additional hospital. Report writers stated, “This promotes competition and leads to higher quality.”

ibiza townSan Antonio

Fines against tiqueteros

ince the start of the season the local authorities have issued summons fining bar owners a total of 88 times for their use of tiqueteros, otherwise known as ‘proppers’ in English. Acting Mayor José Ramon Serra said, “We are currently checking to see whether further action is necessary. Many bar owners have not yet understood that we mean business as far as this is concerned.” The usual practice of enticing passers-bys to consume alcohol with proppers is no longer being tolerated. Fines can run up to €1.500.

Artisans market agreement reached

The dispute between vendors at the artisan market and the municipal authorities has been resolved after a one-day strike in mid-July. The vendors had complained about the change of location ordered by the municipality from the Passeig de ses Fonts beach promenade to the Carrer Ample near the church, as there is much less passing traffic at the new location. The municipal authorities have promised to advertise the Friday artisan market with brochures and activities.

ibiza townSan Juan

No pardon for illegal parties

In July Sant Joan’s Mayor Antoni Mari took stock of this year’s campaign against illegal parties. In doing so he especially praised the “trouble-free cooperation of the Local Police and the Guardia Civil”. Mr. Mari further stated that he would not tolerate these sorts of out of hand private parties making their way into Sant Joan. As an example of perfectly coordinated cooperation he mentioned the break up of a party at the Portinatx lighthouse on 24th June. Apparently the police recorded the personal data of all the partygoers and the organisers, their musical equipment was confiscated too.

Sant Joan betting on countryside

“Ibiza’s northernmost and most natural community is increasingly focusing on holidaymakers who are looking for peace and quiet and want to enjoy the island for its gorgeous natural scenery.” These were the words with which Councillor for Tourism Jaume Mari presented the start of the Internet presence www.ibizaruralvillas.es It presents accommodation in the countryside on the web. Mr. Mari also used the occasion to stress that the offerings had “something for every price range”.

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July municipality news for Ibiza

July 7th, 2009

July’s council town news from around Ibiza:

ibiza townIbiza Town

Land use plan now with the Island Council

The land use plan, which Eivissa’s city authorities have taken six years to work out, came a significant step closer to being finalised in mid-June. A majority on the city council passed the complicated set of rules and regulations, only the conservative People’s Party (PP) voted against the plan. Their spokesperson Virtudes Mari called the plan “botched”. Before the land use plan can come into force it must also be passed by the Island Council.

Purge planned in Dalt Vila

Under the framework of the new land use plan city authorities are planning to expropriate the owners of 44 houses in the historic old town of Dalt Vila. “Specifically we are speaking about buildings in the Carrer Alt and Carrer Retrir,” said city councillor Vicent Torres. He further stated, “These houses are the epicentre of social problems in Dalt Vila.” Additionally, many of the apartments in the houses have been squatted for years on end. The spokesperson of the local residential association, Sagrario Cabrera, found the city’s plans to be a “positive step”.

ibiza townSan Jose

Bobby bashes bobby

A local policeman is currently in the dock in Sant Josep and the public prosecutor is charging him with criminal assault and demanding 45 months imprisonment and a fine of €5.800. The twist to this story is that defendant got violent with one of his colleagues. The incident occurred back in August 2007 in the Khumaras Bar in Port des Torrent. Because the colleague arrived after 35 minutes to help break up a fight, the defendant, who was then in a rage because of the delay, started beating up his colleague.

Cultural centre, Can Curt to be renovated

The Can Curt Cultural Centre in Sant Agusti will be closed until the beginning of 2010 for renovation work. According to the authorities the building from the 16th or 17th Century, will be renovated from the ground up. The financing for the project will come from the €400.000 the central government provided to the municipality as part of the economic stimulus programme. Can Curt is listed as a place of historic interest (BIC), and the municipality bought it in 2002.

ibiza townSanta Eulalia

Economic factor beach

The issuance of seasonal licenses for beach enterprises will bring the city authorities about €300.000 this year, according to information provided by the official gazette of the Balearic Islands (BOIB). It also made it clear that the municipality earns a majority of the money from the 16 permits for the letting of sunbeds, water sports machines and the sale of ice cream and sandwiches on the beach at es Canar. But not in Es Canar: in Cala Llenya one of the summer businesses was willing to pay €12.000 for a license

Asphalt resurfacing for the road to Jesus

The connecting road between the roundabout to Jesus and the village centre has been repaved. As the Island Council communicated in mid-June the road base was cleaned up and covered with two sixcentimetre thick layers of asphalt. Additionally, they also integrated a system for rainwater runoff for the first time, which is supposed to prevent flooding in the future. The Consell paid almost €100.000 for the work, which took just under six weeks to complete.

ibiza townSan Antonio

Floating berths in the bay

The new floating wooden berths, that the Spanish Coastal Authority and the town’s authorities have been pressing ahead with, should be completed in the coming weeks, according to statements made by the head of the Coastal Authority on the islands, Celesti Alomar, when he visited Sant Antoni. The platforms, which will provide a further 120 berths, will be anchored near the entrance to the bay. It is hoped this will help prevent boats anchoring willy-nilly in the bay, or at least curtail it significantly.

Less carbon dioxide with energy-saving lamps

On the Passeig de ses Fonts the authorities have installed energy-saving lamps. According to the town’s energy-saving action plan, this will result in a 60 percent reduction in the current energy use. Juan Linde, councillor for the environment, said the planned reduction in the number of lamps from 120 to 112, as well as the changeover to energy-saving bulbs will reduce the annual consumption from 15,000 to 4,433 watts. This results in a reduction in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide of 24 tons per year. The investments will cost €130.000.

ibiza townSan Juan

Wireless surfing in the Campo

Residents of remote houses in the Sant Joan municipality have been able to enjoy the Internet since the start of June. However, before they start surfing they will have to make an investment, and the installation of equipment by the operator of the service, Net2, costs up to €300, while the monthly flat rate is €44. The connection is wireless via satellite with data download rates of up to 1MB per second. This was preceded by an agreement between the municipality and Net2.

Six lifeguards for the beaches

The beaches in the municipality will be watched over by six lifeguards from the Red Cross this year, which are two more than last year. In mid-June mayor Antoni Mari Mari signed the contract with the island director of the Red Cross, Rafael Garcia. In total the costs for the lifeguard service will run to about €45.000 for the season. They will be serving the beaches at Cala Sant Vicent, Portinatx, Benirras and Port de Sant Miquel.

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Funding for Ibiza road construction approved – Ibiza News

May 6th, 2009

At the beginning of April the central government in Madrid passed the budget for road construction projects on the Balearic Islands. By 2014 the islands will receive a total of 514.7 million euros as part of the subsidy programme. The budget was finally passed after several years of negotiations between the central government, the regional government and the island councils.

Ibiza and Formentera’s share of the total budget will be 68.8 million euros. Following the announcement of the cabinet’s decision the Spanish government’s Vice-President, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega (Social Democratic Party, PSOE), announced that whereas Ibiza will have to wait until 2014 to receive its allotted 55.4 million euros, Formentera will receive the 13.4 million euros earmarked for its use over the next two years.

The Island Council of Ibiza was relieved and satisfied to hear the good news from Madrid. The councillor for mobility, Albert Prats (Eivissa pel Canví, ExC), emphasised that planned construction projects on Ibiza will also be developed, decided and supervised here on the island. “In the first draft of the budgetary plan Madrid wanted to assume responsibility for planning.” added Prats.

The authorities have already named the majority of the road construction projects that will be funded from the budget:

  • Improvements to the highway to Sant Miquel. The lanes will be widened and strips of sand added. There is also talk of adding a separate cycle path. A project proposal has been submitted, however, there are a lot of questions to be answered before it can be accepted.
  • Improvements to the highway to Sant Joan. This item is at the same stage of planning as the proposal to widen lanes on the Sant Miquel highway.
  • Construction of an access road leading to the Ses Salines nature reserve. As well as wider lanes and separate cycle paths the construction project plans to lay new underground electricity and telephone cables. The project is still at the planning stage.
  • Widening of the highway between Ibiza town and Can na Negreta. The plan is to double the number of lanes between the traffic junction at Jesus and the turning to Santa Gertrudis. Still at the planning stage.
  • Improvements to the highway between Santa Eulalia and Sant Carles. The Island Council wants to improve safety on this 5 km stretch of road. However, there are no plans to double the number of lanes.
  • Construction of a ring road in Ibiza town.Madrid will cover the costs of transferring the project from the Island Council to the municipality.

The project will also completely reorganise the traffic system with the introduction of new speed limits, car parks, pedestrian zones and green areas. The current opposition party (the Popular Party or PP) has expressed doubts about the cabinet’s willingness to honour the proposed budget.

The former Balearic construction minister, Mabel Cabrer, reminded us that the Balearic Islands are still waiting for funds that they were supposed to receive from the 1998 and 2004 budgets. “I can only hope that the government will keep its promise this time round.” said Cabrer.

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Madrid promises Ibiza its own independent immigration office – Ibiza News

May 6th, 2009

The Spanish Ministry of Public Administration has now indicated that it is willing to establish a separate immigration office on Ibiza. This was confirmed at the beginning of April by the then-minister, Elena Salgado (Social Democratic Party, PSOE), during a visit to the island.

This is a clear signal that Madrid is finally, after months of resistance, giving in to the demands of immigrant associations and local politicians from across the political spectrum. Back at the beginning of the year Salgado had stated that the immigration office, currently located in the national police headquarters, had enough personnel and material resources to get the job done.

Now the ministry is doing a U-turn. “We are working to have the immigration office up and running by 1st July.” said the minister, after meeting with the central government’s two Balearic representatives, Ramon Socias and Sofia Herranz. The new office will be housed in Casa del Mar, next to the Gran Hotel Ibiza, and staffed by six administrative officials. The residence of the government representative for Ibiza and Formentera, Herranz, will also be located in the same building.

Unlike the current immigration office, independent immigration offices – which are generally only to be found in provincial capitals – have more qualified staff and better equipment. Hence EU citizens living in Palma can get their certificates of residency the same day they apply for them, whereas the same certificate on Ibiza will not be delivered until several days later.

The announcement by Salgado – who was to take over the post of economy minister in a cabinet reshuffle a few days later – was welcomed on Ibiza. In recent months, all of the parties represented in the Island Council had been exerting pressure on Madrid. Even the regional parliament representatives in Palma had voted unanimously to ask the central government to negotiate.

Those in favour used recent statistics from the residents’ registration office to argue that an independent immigration office was urgently needed: whereas the proportion of foreigners on the Balearic Islands as a whole is around 25 percent, the number of non-Spaniards living on Ibiza and Formentera is significantly higher at 33 percent.

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Ses Salinas and Chiringuitos future – Ibiza News

May 6th, 2009

In mid-April, Ibiza‘s Island Council presented a project proposal that is designed to guarantee the sustainable use of the Ses Salines nature reserve in future. The proposal presented at a joint press conference held by the president of the Island Council, Xico Tarres (PSOE), and the environment and mobility councillor, Albert Prats (ExC), centred on a new transport policy. Furthermore, the draft includes comprehensive improvements to existing infrastructure. Both politicians indicated that it was not yet clear where the funding would be coming from.

Tarres and Prats described the draft as “very ambitious.” In particular, the Island Council advocated for the establishment of clear guidelines to regulate access to the beaches by car, particularly during the summer months. An additional car park should be provided outside the boundaries of the nature reserve. Ibiza‘s Island Council’s hope is that this will help to protect the surrounding dunes. Regular shuttle buses would then transport visitors from the car park to the beaches.

The Balearic minister of the environment, Miquel Angel Grimalt, welcomed the initiative. In this context he reminded us that his ministry is already working on a programme to help protect the dunes. “Work to construct a network of wooden footbridges is set to begin next year.” said Grimalt during his visit to Ibiza in April. He added that the regional government was keen to minimise the damage that visitors inevitably cause to the reserve’s natural equilibrium.

The project proposal also makes provisions for a cycle path alongside the Sant Jordi access road. According to Tarres and Prats, “No decision has yet been made as to whether the path will be separated from the main highway by a barrier or simply be painted a different colour.” Furthermore, at the same time as the path is being built, there are plans to replace older sewage pipes and lay new electric cables and phone lines. “This is a preliminary draft.” said Prats, who pointed out that if the new car park gets the go-ahead the council will still have to look for a suitable location and arrange for its compulsory purchase. However, the first results will be visible by summer 2010. “This is a project that we are going to implement stage by stage.” said Prats.

Neither of the two island councillors provided any details of how the project is going to be funded. Both Tarres and Prats admitted that its implementation would require “significant financial resources.” However, as it is clear that the island authorities can’t shoulder the full financial burden, they have already approached the central government, the regional government and the municipality of Sant Josep. “The regional government is responsible for administrating the nature reserve.” added Prats, describing ongoing efforts to secure the necessary subsidies. “And the reserve itself is located within the municipality of Sant Josep.”

At the moment the future of the beach chiringuitos inside the Ses Salines national park is still in doubt. At the beginning of April, the director of the Balearic coastal authority, Celesti Alomar, confirmed that beach bar owners had applied to have their licences extended in accordance with the coastal law.

For years now, the chiringuitos – many of which were built illegally just a few metres away from the water line – have been a thorn in the side of the coastal authorities. “According to the laws that are currently in place, the chiringuitos should be removed.” said Alomar. You can read more about this issue in our interview with the island councillor for regional planning, Miquel Ramon.

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May municipality news for Ibiza

May 6th, 2009

ibiza townIbiza Town

Es Viver getting indoor pool

The indoor pool currently under construction in Es Viver will be finished in December. Mayor Lurdes Costa (PSOE) recently said that she expects to be able to dedicate the new public sports facility at the beginning of next year. According to the construction plans the eastern neighbourhood will be getting an indoor pool 25-metres long, a children’s pool, fitness centre and four paddle courts (a ball game similar to tennis). At the moment residents of Ibiza Town can only use the ageing Can Misses indoor pool and the Es Raspallet indoor pool administered by the Island Council. Ibiza Town’s authorities plan to completely renovate and expand the Can Misses location. The city’s plan is that during the construction phase the citizens will be able to use the new pool in Es Viver.

Closing time remains at 3 am

The Association of Residents and Businesses in Ibiza Town’s La Marina harbour neighbourhood has requested the city authorities move back the closing time for establishments introduced last year from 3 am to 4 am. In the letter they wrote, “Ibiza Town is the capital of nighttime amusement.” On the one hand, the current closing time means that night owls have to leave the party quarter at 3 am. They argued on the other hand that the earlier closing time means less revenue for businesses in the area. Ibiza Town’s City Councillor for Tourism and Trade, Vicent Ferrer (PSOE), refused to make the change, saying, “This deadline has proven itself.”

ibiza townSan Jose

Residents against protected area in Cala d’Hort

A meeting in April between representatives of the municipal authorities and property owners in Cala d’Hort to discuss changing the area into a natural protected zone again ended without any noteworthy results. Property owners were especially worried about losing the control over their land. Subsequent to the meeting the spokesperson for the property owners, Maria Tur, argued, “In a protected area the regulatory requirements for expansion or renovation of a house are almost impossible to meet.” The group could also not comprehend as to why the authorities are not offering any payment of compensatory damages as a quid pro quo.

Lots of money for a tidy township

Municipal authorities will be paying 3.6 million euros for rubbish collection and clean-up work this year. Plenum members reached consensus on the amount in April. According to the local Councillor for Building and Services, Pere Ribas (PSOE), they are planning on making fundamental improvements to the services. These include the installation of an additional 55 rubbish containers – 23 green ones for normal household rubbish and 32 colourful ones for recyclables. They are also planning on hiring more personnel for selective clean-up actions. The township additionally plans to start an information campaign to sensitise households about the value and advantages of recycling.

ibiza townSanta Eulalia

Local residents against bicycle path

Property owners along the country road to Sant Miquel have organised against the Island Council’s plans to include a separate bicycle path when they expand the road. Island Councillor Albert Prats (ExC) presented the plans to the public just a few weeks ago. Residents directly along the path of the road fear that more land will be expropriated because the bicycle path will be separated from the main road by a ditch. At the beginning of April Mr. Prats met with the residents for several hours to discuss the issue. He categorically rejected their suggestion to simply highlight the bicycle path with colour and keep it as part of the main road due to safety concerns. They have planned further meetings in the coming weeks.

Municipality to improve s’Argamassa

Thanks to the national economic stimulus for municipalities residents of Santa Eulalia oldest urbanisation s’Argamassa will be able to enjoy a bit of improvements in their settlement. The acting mayor of Santa Eulalia, Mariano Juan (PP), announced that 403,000 euros from the state funds will be used to renovate sidewalks, repave streets and invest in new street lighting. “The settlement has yet to be transferred to the municipality,” Mr. Juan said, “however given that no one feels responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the streets and sidewalks our municipality has no choice but to do something about it.” Construction is planned to begin shortly.

ibiza townSan Antonio

Eau de toilette against dogs

The municipal authorities have started an unusual campaign to come to grips with the problem of urinating dogs. To prevent our four-legged friends from emptying their bladders on the palms along the harbour boulevard Passeig de ses Fonts, workers sprayed the trunks with a liquid solution mainly containing mustard and lemon extracts. Councillor for the Environment, Juan Linde, explained that the scent would prevent canines from peeing on the trees. The experiment is planned to run two months. Linde said, “It was important to us that we use an environmentally harmless product.” According to Mr. Linde, costs for the anti-urination programme will run about 8,000 euros.

Sports centre to be used as energy source

Mayor Jose Sala announced the municipality had received subsidies worth 546,000 euros from the EU Fund for Regional Development for the installation of photovoltaic equipment on the roof of the Can Coix Sports Centre. After completion by the end of the year the installation will produce up to 180 kilowatts of electricity. Mr. Sala said, “This will more than cover the electricity needs of the sports centre.” Any additional energy produced will be sold by the municipality to Gesa-Endesa at an attractive price. The mayor further stated, “Over the next two years the municipality will be spending a total of 1.34 million euros to realise the project.”

ibiza townSan Juan

Community centre to open in summer

Mayor Antoni Mari expects that the future community centre located in the heart of San Llorenzo will be finished in time for the Patron Saint’s festivities in August. At an inspection of the site in mid-April Mr. Mari said, “The construction is proceeding according to plan and we should be able to dedicate it the first half of August.” The community centre will hold a welfare centre, a leisure time centre for older residents and a post office. Mr. Mari also stated the building will cost 620,000 euros, whereby the Island Council is contributing 343,000 euros.

Township’s Internet presence overhauled

The township has fundamentally overhauled their Internet site. Under the new address – www.santjoandelabritja.com – that went online in April the service has been greatly improved compared to the previous version. Mayor Antoni Mari was particularly proud to point out the function of an interactive visit to the municipality by mouse-click. It includes a Google Earth-like map of the township with outstanding points of interest and descriptions. The site is currently only available in Spanish and Catalan, although Mr. Mari did say they plan translations into English and German in the near future.

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Ibiza News – New traffic regulations

February 28th, 2009

After completion of construction and the official certification by the authorities responsible, the maximum speed on the main motorway from Ibiza town to San Antonio will stay at 80 kilometres per hour. This announcement was made by Antoni Armengol (Social Democrats, PSOE), the general director of the Balearic Islands Ministry of Construction. This means that the regional government has rejected Ibiza’s Island Council’s formal request to increase the speed limit to 100 km/h.

Island Council spokesperson Marga Torres (PSOE) said that with their request the council was simply addressing a concern expressed by the Spanish traffic authority, Direccion General de Trafico (DGT). Torres explained that the regular administrative channels required that the Island Council make the request. The Island Council itself, however, has no interest in having the speed limit raised at the moment. Ms. Torres further said, “We have absolutely no problem with the rejection of the proposal.”

Mr. Armengol explained his refusal of a higher limit on the four lane motorway for “constructional and legal reasons”. An increased speed limit is not compatible with the underlying norms used for construction. “Apart from that, a higher speed limit would mean more carbon dioxide emissions and more noise,” he added. All across Europe, and not just in Spain, there has been a trend over past years towards a reduction in speed limits.

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Ibiza News – Harbour expansion – Authorities approve project

February 27th, 2009

After months of difficult negotiations the Balearic Islands regional government, Ibiza’s Island Council, Ibiza town’s city government and the Balearic Islands harbour authorities have approved a final project for harbour expansion. According to information provided by the president of the harbour authority, Francesc Triay, they have decided upon a slightly modified version of the original plan. Critics of the plan for construction near ‘es Botafoch’ had described it as oversized, and it appears concessions have been made to allay these fears. Triay said he expects construction to start in autumn and that it will probably cost about 81 million euros.

The expansion, which has been planned for years, has as its primary goal the removal of the large ferry and transport ships from Ibiza town’s inner harbour to an area between Marina Botafoch and the es Botafoch lighthouse. The authorities hope this will lead to a revitalisation of Ibiza town’s historic fishing quarter. “It will greatly increase the quality of life in the neighbourhood when people can take an undisturbed walk down the promenade,” believes Ibiza town’s mayor Lurdes Costa (PSOE). On the other hand, ferry operators have been requesting more space for years in order to provide their customers with appropriate services, including modern access ramps and gastronomy.

The first construction phase, which the harbour authorities say could take up to 31 months, sees the creation of a 63,000 square metre area and two docking piers. The original plans called for 80,000 square metres. Mr. Triay said, “We reduced it to avoid drawing out the negotiations even longer.” However, they appear to be happy with the new plan. He further stated, “Service for ferry passengers will improve considerably with the project.” Additionally, cruise ships and leisure yachts will profit from the restructuring in the new plan and the improvement in space created in the inner harbour.

Mr. Triay also explained that neither the Ses Feixes swamplands nor the s’Illa Plana housing area would be threatened by the harbour project. Triay said, “The access to the new pier will not compromise Ses Feixes and there will be no tunnel constructed beneath s’Illa Plana.” – specifically sending a message to environmentalists and the left-leaning coalition partner of the Social Democrats on the Island Council and Ibiza town’s city hall, the regional Eivissa per Canvi (ExC) party.

Island Council president Xico Tarres (PSOE) fleshed the statement out further, declaring that traffic for the new harbour would be routed along the current Avenida 8 d’Agost, as it meets all of the structural requirements for the increase in traffic. He added, “And if that should not be the case then we will find a different solution.”

The Ibicencan Social Democrats went for it alone in approving this project, which did not sit well with their coalition partner ExC. Just a few months earlier the ExC had submitted their own expansion project that was rejected by all of the decision makers in Madrid, Palma and Ibiza. “We are very upset at how the Social Democrats have conducted themselves,” said ExC spokesperson Josep Maria Gari. However, during a specially called party conference there was no mention of ending the coalition. Mr. Gari further said, “The harbour project was very important for us, however we must appreciate that we can only help shape the island’s future by continuing our work within government.”

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Ibiza News: New roads to Sant Miquel and Sant Joan

November 7th, 2008

Ibiza’s Island Councillor for Mobility, Albert Prats (Eivissa per Canvi, ExC) presented plans for restructuring the roads to Sant Miquel and Sant Joan in November. They call for the widening of both and repaving with better quality asphalt. They will also include a new bike lane separated from the traffic lanes by a ditch and wooden crash barriers. Prats does not expect construction to be completed on the project before 2011. The Spanish central government will be covering the total costs, which are expected to run about 32 million euros.

At the project announcement Prats said, “These will be the first highways on Ibiza with a separate bike lane.” For the road to Sant Miquel the bike lanes, planned to be two and a half metres wide, will run parallel to the main road for almost all of its length. “Due to the more dense construction along the road to Sant Joan the bike lane will have to deviate significantly from the road itself in many locations,” he further stated. “The bike lanes will not be paved along their entire lengths, however, they will be clearly marked.”

The country roads will be widened and improved along a total length of 24.7 kilometres. 13.4 of these are the section to Sant Joan; the other 11.3 are on the section to Sant Miquel. The roads both have approximately 5,700 vehicles using them every day. After the work is complete both roads will measure 14 metres across, including the bike lanes.

The Island Council is also planning to build six roundabouts along the 13 kilometres to Sant Joan, with an additional two for the 11 kilometre stretch to Sant Miquel. Prats also said, “We are not planning to expropriate any homes.” However he did admit that this would occur with property along the course of the road. “We aim to conduct a transparent expropriation process. We will not repeat the mistakes of the past.” This was clearly in reference to the expropriations that occurred with the construction of the motorways.

Prats expects that construction can be started at the end of 2009. “We’ve been given a green light from the environmental commission of the Balearic Islands Ministry of the Environment.” They are planning 18 months construction time for the road to Sant Joan and 16 months for the road to Sant Miquel. “In any event the roads will not be completed before 2011.”

In further road news, the construction of right-turning lanes on the roundabout near the convention centre should be completed more quickly. These will save drivers the wait on the roundabout from the flyover near Jesus to the road to Sant Antoni. The Balearic Islands government has approved a project to build a separate traffic lane around the roundabout. The same concept will apply to a second right-turning lane near the convention centre (Recinto Ferial). So drivers who want to turn off to Ibiza town will not need to use the roundabout. The regional government expects that the 652.000 euros project will be completed in time for the 2009 summer season.

Additionally, signing-off on the road construction plan (Convenio de Carreteras) is still pending. After a meeting with the Spanish Minister for Infrastructure, Magdalena Alvarez (Social Democrats, PSOE), the leader of the Balearic Islands government, Francesc Antich (Social Democrats, PSOE), said that both parties would sign the document before the end of the year. The road construction plan would secure investments for Ibiza and Formentera from Madrid for a total of 68.8 million euros till the year 2014.

cova can marca
Can Marca cave

The Balearic Islands Ministry of the Environment is contemplating a new designation for protection of ‘geological interest’. According to Environmental Minister Miquel Angel Grimalt (Unio Mallorquina) ministry specialists have already compiled a list of twenty such natural treasures. In November he said, “The plans have not yet been finalised, as I expect there will still be revisions to the plans.” The primary goal for the ministry is to protect areas from human intervention that are insufficiently or totally unprotected from irreparable damage.

The current list includes fifteen natural areas on Ibiza and five on Formentera. The regional government wants to protect the following areas ‘of geological interest': the cave at Can Marca, the es Cavallet dunes, Sa Talaia mountain and the headlands near Pou des Lleo. Formentera’s sites include the s’Estany des Peix inland sea, La Mola and Cap de Barbaria.

After final cataloguing of sites there will be a decision on what sort of protection they should receive. “Our competencies as regional government are limited,” Grimalt explained, “we only have the standard protection categories of natural park, nature reserve and natural monument.”

Meanwhile the Ministry of the Environment has already started the first part of its reforestation programme after the motorway construction. In sa Coma, on the road from Ibiza to Sant Antoni not far from the Hipercenter shopping centre, they plan to return the landscape to its original condition in two phases. During motorway construction the area was used for the production of asphalt. In mid-November a spokesperson for the ministry stated that the first step would be to restore the soil in the hardest hit areas. Afterwards they plan to plant 95 trees, “52 carob and 43 almond trees, both specimens endemic to Ibiza.”

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Ibiza’s Topless fire brigade

November 7th, 2008

While the idea is admittedly no longer novel, the ends justify the means on Ibiza too. Almost all of the fire brigades on the island allowed themselves to be photographed by Oscar Munar for a glossy 2009 calendar. A portion of the proceeds will be going to private aid agencies like the Cancer Fund on Ibiza and Formentera.

At the introduction of the calendar in mid-November the bomberos made no secret of the fact that a large part of the proceeds will be going to cover costs for another cause – nine of their colleagues will be participating in the Police and Firemen’s World Game this coming August in Vancouver in Canada.

ibiza's fire brigadeThe sizzling hot calendar, which costs 8 euros, is already especially popular with female firemen fans. The presentation event on the horse trotting race track in Sant Rafel was packed, creating long delays. One somewhat older woman bought eight copies of the first edition of 3,000. We need hardly explain that the almost thirty, mainly younger men who posed for the photos were mostly sparsely clothed.

The photos contain many gleaming bodies that have apparently seen plenty of time in the gym between deployments. Photographer Munar mixed scenes of the everyday with no small portion of humour. The June photo, for example, shows a fire engine heading out to a call with a fireman still soapy from the shower wearing nothing but a tiny towel around his hips running after the vehicle. “We had a lot of fun at the shooting,” said fireman Juan Carlos Torres, “but we were freezing cold.”

The calendar can be purchased at the Island Council office on Avenida Espana in Ibiza town or through the fire brigade’s Internet site (www.bomberosdeibiza.es).

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