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Consell opens up €250K in funding for cultural heritage in 2021

foto 2021 ajudes patrimoniThe Formentera Department of Heritage reports that applications are being accepted for money to pay for work on cultural heritage sites; restoration of drystone walls and burial of power and telephone lines. Claims on the quarter million euros in available assistance must be submitted by 31 July. The terms of the initiative have been posted to the Official Gazette of the Balearic Islands (BOIB) and www.consellinsulardeformentera.cat.

Heritage chair Raquel Guasch highlighted the snug fit last year between availability and applications received — “proof that, when it comes to preserving our heritage, property owners are interested and involved. So we’re staying the course. True to our word, we will shape the offer so this funding enriches our heritage sites and cements the place they hold on our identity”.

Thirty-five per cent of the €250,000 will go towards work on cultural heritage sites; 45% to restoring drystone walls and 20% to burying power and telephone lines. Twenty-five disbursements issued last year totalled €210.339.

Cultural heritage sites
Eligible projects must involve restoration, conservation, consolidation or refurbishment of cultural and national heritage sites, or involve work on sites or architectural features which are included in Formentera’s catalogue and inventory of cultural heritage. A project must also constitute betterment and elevation of the site’s value.

Depending on a site’s level of protection and the nature of the work in question, funding can cover: in the case of cultural heritage sites, up to 90% of project costs or €50,000; sites with level-B protection, 60% of costs (€30,000); sites with level-C protection, 50% of costs (€25,000); sites in the inventory, 40% of costs (€15,000); sites with ethnological value, 40% of costs (€10,000).

Restoring drystone walls
Funding is available for repairs completed using traditional materials and techniques as well as replacement with traditional drystone walls of those made of concrete blocks or other substanstard materials. For walls along public roads, assistance will cover €90/metre (or €40/m for property owners who handle the works themselves); for all other walls, assistance covers €75/m (or €30/m).

Burying overhead cables
Assistance is also available for islanders who underground overhead telephone and utility cables (medium voltage power lines; transformer substations; low-voltage mains and shunts). The Consell will give €45/m (up to €60,000) provided funding does not exceed 60% of the initial technical report.

Applications can be submitted in-person at the Citizen Information Office (Carrer Ramon Llull, 6; Sant Francesc) or online, from the Consell de Formentera website, on the Virtual Citizen Information Office (OVAC).

14 April 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Windmill and Ethnographic Collection reopen

foto 2021 moli vellThe Consell de Formentera announces that the old La Mola windmill (el molí Vell) and Formentera Ethnographic Collection reopened earlier this week. The windmill will open for public visits until the end of May, Wednesday to Saturday from 10.00am to 2.00pm, closed holidays, while the FEC will open year round (except holidays and for staff leave), Tuesday to Saturday from 10.00am to 1.30pm. As part of Covid-19 safety protocol in place, capacity at both sites is capped at 6, with the FEC additionally requiring all multiple visitors be from the same household.

This winter, the Formentera heritage office teamed up with the windmill’s owner, the Balearic Islands Foundation, to restore sails and assorted parts of the structure. Last year both parties signed an agreement giving local government direct control over opening hours and visits for the next six years.

4 March 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Before regional governments and parliaments in Catalunya, València, Murcia and Aragon and central government, Consell recognises Catalan as one language

The Formentera Department of Language Policy (FDLP) reports that the governments and parliaments of Catalunya, València, Murcia and Aragon, as well as the central government in Madrid and the upper and lower houses of Spanish parliament, have been sent an accord adopted by the Consell de Formentera 25 November 2020 in plenary assembly and recognising Catalan as a single language.

With the world set to celebrate International Mother Language Day tomorrow, 21 February, FDLP chair Raquel Guasch cast the initiative “part of the crucial task of safeguarding the present and future of our language”. The island’s plenary body asserted certain expressions were unique to the brand of Catalan spoken on Formentera, and decried actions in legislative, government, practical and social strata to undermine people’s right to use Catalan in places where it is co-official.

Recipients include Murcia and Aragon governments
Councillor Guasch pointed out the Consell had also sent the declaration to the regions of Murcia and Aragon: “The former doesn’t recognise Catalan speakers in Carxe, and the latter recognises Catalan as a local language but has fallen short of granting it ‘official’ status”.

Formentera’s municipal leaders pressed the central government to “heed linguistic studies recognising the plain-to-see unitarity of the Catalan language” and to set right “those agencies and offices which cast doubt on this fact and encourage splintering of the language”.

As for the Catalan language’s years-long process of ‘normalisation’, Councillor Guasch described it as an “aspirational process” — working toward a situation where Spain’s various languages can be used with absolute normalcy in regions where they are officially recognised. Catalan isn’t there yet, Guasch insisted, and there are obstacles along the way: the councillor remarked that even today “people are forced to remind official institutions of the language they speak, where their language is spoken and that they have a right to speak it.” She added, “It’s past time Spain changed its approach to ‘multilingualism’ and truly recognised linguistic diversity”.

20 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera offers virtual visits of megalithic Ca na Costa burial site

foto 2021 ca na costaThe Formentera Patrimony Department reports that starting today, visitors of the Consell de Formentera website will find a new feature: virtual visits of Ca na Costa, a burial site which scientists say dates back to megalithic times. The Formentera and Eivissa island governments are both participants in the project, which was conceived by the Archaeological Museum of Eivissa and Formentera (MAEF) before being picked up by the Balearic Ministry of Culture.

Following this link from the Consell de Formentera website, visitors get a full 3D tour with detailed Spanish- and Catalan-language explanations about various features of the monument. A general overview of the historical site is offered too, as well as an interactive map and information about MAEF’s wider effort to digitise other archaeological sites.

‘Bringing islanders face-to-face with heritage’
According to Formentera Heritage Department chief Raquel Guasch, “the FHD embraced MAEF’s initiative because bringing islanders into contact with Formentera’s archaeological heritage is one of our top priorities this legislative term. This digital tool will make it easier to bridge the gap.” Guasch said the goal was to develop the digital catalogue still further, giving prominence to heritage sites and working together with MAEF, whose work so far she described as “fantastic”.

Marking a convergence of the island governments of Formentera and Eivissa and the regional administration in Palma, the initiative aims to take the Pine Islands’ archaeological endowment online, where it can be enjoyed not just by locals but by people around the world. Plans to incorporate other visitable landmarks into the catalogue are seen as a way to promote in-person visits as soon as the public health situation improves.

MAEF unveiled the initiative in March 2020, highlighting virtual visits of the Monographic Museum of Puig des Molins and the nearby underground graves known as “Hipogeus de la Mula” (a site managed by the Balearic Ministry of the First Minister’s Office, Culture and Equality in coordination with MAEF). The collaborative effort has also meant the digitising and preparation for virtual visits of two other Eivissa landmarks: Ses Païsses archaeological ruins in Cala d’Hort and the sanctum of Cova des Culleram.

10 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Crews cap restoration of La Mola windmill sweeps

foto 2021 moli Vell la Mola 1The Formentera heritage office reports that after roughly two months of work, restoration on assorted parts of the old La Mola windmill is now complete. Workers are expected to finish mounting pieces of the structure that were restored last week.

Full restoration operations were deemed necessary after the heritage office and Balearic Islands Foundation reported that wind and the elements had left two of the lighthouse’s six pinewood sweeps in a deteriorated state. One sweep snapped as crews performed preparatory work, bringing two more sails along with it and prompting the decision to remove the windmill’s wind-catching apparatuses so the ensemble could be secured, allowing for improved visitor safety and a more thorough assessment of restoration needs.

To the extent possible, meticulous restoration operations respected craftsmanship and materials of the original structure. For instance, slender and straight pine trees were selected to replicate the sails, or sweeps, in need of replacement.

Efforts were led by Francesc Torres ‘Moliner’ and Jaume Escandell d’en Ferrer — individuals with knowledge and experience in similar operations, and who in the past worked with the previous miller, Joan Torres Mayans ‘Moliner’, to restore other windmills in the Pine Islands.

Safeguarding windmills
“Restoration was considered a priority given the poor state of conservation of several of the windmill’s structural elements”, said heritage councillor Raquel Guasch, highlighting the Formentera government’s efforts “to guarantee protection of the La Mola windmill”. In November 2019 members of local government voted to begin the process of designating La Mola’s molí vell (old mill) a monument of special cultural interest. Attendees of another plenary gathering, this time in July of last year, voted to extend protections around the windmill with “more innovative safeguards consistent with the reality of the physical surroundings”. In the words of the local heritage chief, “the goal is to ultimately accord ‘cultural interest site’ status to every windmill on the island”.

Last year the Consell de Formentera signed a rental agreement with Balearic Islands Foundation, which owns the windmill, giving local government direct control over opening hours and visits for the next six years.

The “Molí Vell de la Mola” will once again open to the public this Saturday, with winter hours —weekends from 10.00am to 2.00pm— in effect until May. Admission is free.

18 January 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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