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Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

Light Aircraft Disappeared

Ibiza Local News

A privately owned light aircraft carrying nine people, two crew and seven American businessmen, disappeared on a routine business flight from Spain to Algeria.

The privately owned plane left Barcelona airport at 10:15am on Wednesday 10th October and last made contact with the Barcelona control tower at 11:41am.

Approximately at that time the aircraft would have been flying over the Mediterranean Sea, just over Ibiza.

Radio Nacional de España (Spanish National Radio) suggested that the light aircraft may have suffered flight difficulties caused by bad weather and may have fell into the sea just off Ibiza.

CNN News is also reporting on the story and, at the time of writing the plane has not been located. Let's hope this will not be another tragedy for the American people to cope with.

Protection For The Posidonia Plant

The Conselleria de Medi Ambient (Environmental Council) has finally got its wish this week when the Spanish Government at last approved a project aimed to protect the extensive sea-bed of the posidonia plant in the Balearic Isles.

The posidonia plant, after years of constant abuse, is feared to be an endangered species and, after various ecologists on the island expressed how important posidonia is to Ibiza, it now seems that it will be protected by law.

"Proteccion de Praderas de Posidonia de Balears" (Protection of the Posidonia Meadows in the Balearic Isles) is the name that has been given to the new protection programme which will start to function immediately.

Locating the posidonia meadows, eliminating the deadly virus 'taxifolia' and a survey of the most important marine species such as the turtle, dolphin and cormorant are just some of the many activities that will be taking place between now and 2005.

The project will cost a grand total of 1,000 million pesetas, with 50% of the money being donated by the European Union.

Illegal Building

Just as things had started to look-up for the islands environment, local politician of the 'Pacte' organization, Bernat Joan, has got himself into trouble.

The Consell Insular (Islands Council) has issued a complaint against the politician after he proceeded to build himself a house in an Area Natural de Especial Interes (Natural Area of Special Interest).

A new law approved and actively supported by Bernat Joan, restricts all building on rural soil and, especially in a Natural Area of Special Interest.

The members of the political party 'Partido Popular' (PP) are demanding an immediate solution to the problem and are asking the San José Council and the Consell Insular to take action against Joan as soon as possible. In a recent statement, a local PP politician said: "It doesn't present a good image when a politician like Bernat Joan, who not so long ago supported the new law, disobeys the local council while other people are expected to remain quiet and obey".

Accommodating The Police

The 36 families living in the Guardia Civil's (Civil Guards) headquarters are still waiting to be re-housed after the building failed to pass an inspection earlier this summer, proving that it wasn't safe enough to be lived in.

The Federacion Hotelera (Hotels Federation) promised earlier this week to help in the search for new homes for the Guardia Civil, who are now growing very concerned about the situation.

Two blocks of residential apartments in San Antonio seem to be the most promising choice so far, even though the Guardia Civil would have preferred all the families to live in the same block of apartments so that they would have all their officers under the same roof.

The Federacion Hotelera are negotiating with the owners of the two San Antonio apartment blocks, which would be occupied by the members of the Guardia Civil for two, and a half years.

The families are hoping to move out of their unsafe homes during this month or, at the very latest, November of this year. The building will then be demolished in December so that a new modern headquarters for the Guardia Civil can be built in its place.

Construction Site Safety

Two tragic accidents took place this week at different locations.

The first accident happened at a building site in Can Canto where a 56-year-old man fell to his death from the first floor.

The accident took place at 12 o'clock on Monday 8th October when, according to various witnesses, part of the floor collapsed causing the man to fall from a height of just under four metres.

Even though an ambulance arrived at the scene of the accident almost immediately, there was nothing the paramedics could do to save the man's life because he had critical head injuries.

The second accident took place in Formentera only six hours after the first, at approximately 18:00pm, when a 19-year-old electrician fell from the electrical pole he was working on.

It is thought that the young man lost his balance and fell and that the accident wasn't caused by an electrical shock. The fact that he wasn't wearing a safety harness or helmet could have meant the difference between life and death.

These two fatal accidents are now being investigated by the Policia Local (Local Police), Policia Nacional (National Police) and the Guardia Civil (Civil Guards).

Since the start of this year five people have lost their lives in industrial accidents.

As a result of these latest two tragedies, several construction workers and trade unionists held protest in Vara de Rey (Ibiza Town) on Wednesday 10th October demanding the installation of a permanent 'work inspection' office that would be responsible for ensuring the safety of construction sites on the island.

The protesters held a minute silence for the two men that died.

"Day Of The Tourist"

Ibiza celebrated its annual "homage to the tourists" with a special two-day festival packed with activities.

Every Ibicencan town took part in the celebrations on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th October.

Each town organized a different programme of activities centred around the Ibicencan tradition and culture.

Ibiza Town chose to honour one tourist in particular: Dieter Ortmann, a German tourist who has visited the island every year for the past 30 years.

Dieter Ortmann felt very honoured to receive a special commemorative plaque from Ibiza Town Hall.

Ortmann took the chance to make a brief speech about his views on Ibiza: "The island has changed so much over the past 30 years, so many construction sites and hotels are spoiling Ibiza's natural environment.

Although I have to say that Ibiza has improved in many ways also. Dalt Vila (Ibiza Old Town) used to be very dirty and unsafe, but over the past few years it has changed".

Dieter thanked the local councillors and said he hoped to continue visiting Ibiza for many years to come.

San Antonio organized a special session of 'ball pages' (traditional Ibicencan dancing) as well as a large buffet of typical Ibicencan food such as 'orelletes' and 'bunyols' (sweet cakes eaten only on special occasions) and 'sobrasada' (pork sausage).

At first, the tourists found it hard to believe that everything was free but soon they were enjoying an evening of Ibicencan dancing and food.

San Miguel celebrated the "day of the tourist" by offering free rides in the mini-train that took them on a scenic route around parts of the town

Formentera also celebrated with various activities throughout Saturday morning.

All in all, local politicians considered the "day of the tourist" to have been a huge success, gathering holidaymakers from all over the island.

Some business owners on the island did complain about the festivities however as they believe the activities are the same each year and are considered boring by the tourists. Maybe more planning and originality should go into next year's celebrations.

Louise Wright