Local News (24th May 2018 issue)

Getting to Menorca Just got Easier

The Ciutadella-Alcudia route will be even busier this summer with seven daily frequencies between June 15 and August 31. The Balearia shipping company, which makes this trip all year round with a ferry and a high-speed boat, will introduce an extra three high-speed daily services. This doubles the frequency seen just three years ago in 2015.

This means, in the high season, between June 15 and August 31, Balearia and Trasmediterránea will make seven daily trips from Alcúdia to Ciutadella and another seven return journeys (on Wednesdays, there are six).

An increase in passengers in just two years is 28%, with 286,611 travellers making the trip last year. 

The Alcúdia-Barcelona route will also have a daily service (except Saturday) with the Martin and Soler ferry. 


Catalan Subsidies

During the plenary session at Alcudia’s Town Hall last week, the PP announced its support for providing subsidies to businesses that use Catalan in their printed promotional material. This proposal was granted urgent attention by the government team (PSOE, El Pi and Gent per Alcúdia) and obtained unanimous support at the last plenary.

Included in the proposal was an amendment from the PP. Originally containing the text: “It is totally legitimate to grant aid for the exclusive use of a minority language that must be enhanced... .” It was replaced by: “We consider it legitimate to grant aid for the use of a minority language that must be strengthened...”

In its statement, the council stressed that, “the objective is not to exclude the use of Castellano… it is to encourage the use and presence of the Catalan language.”


Joining the debate…

Miquel Ensenyat contributed to the debate, criticizing the Government Delegate, Maria Salom, for appealing before the courts the subsidies being awarded by the municipality of Pollença: “One of the many initiatives of the Insular Directorate of Language Policy has been the recovery of subsidies for labelling in Catalan, these were originally eliminated in 2011…”.

Ensenyat added that “...enhancing our language cannot be perceived as a threat, if someone lives that way, it just confuses things or tries to confuse them.” The contentious issue rumbles on island-wide. 


Participation Projects

Pollensa’s Evaluation Commission has accepted 16 of the 37 projects suggested by residents, which demand the improvement of several urban spaces. The majority are projects focused on the extension and improvement of street furniture in different areas of the town. In its first year the so-called ‘participatory budgets’, are in the final stage and the voting period has opened.

Some of the suggestions include a seating area where the Gelats Valls kiosk is in the Plaza Major in the Old Town (€35,000); the reform and expansion of the skatepark at the sports centre in Puerto Pollensa (€35,000); the installation of exercise and mobility machines in the Residential Home grounds (€2,500); space and racks for bicycles in the main square (€35,000); reform of the infant and primary playgrounds of the CEIP Joan Mas, as well as enabling leisure spaces with tables, benches and gardens (€39,210).

The most ambitious project, in terms of budget, is the clean-up of the archaeological site of Bóquer, with a cost of €50,000. Another costly proposal is the improvement of the antenna signal to improve radio reception in the Port, which would cost €10,600.

In principle, the most popular proposals will be incorporated into the municipal budgets for the current year 2018. The only fly in the ointment is the local government getting the political support that will guarantee an approval of the accounts. 


Schools Out for Summer…

The local police, Guardia Civil, town halls, secondary schools, health centres and families in the local area are working together for the first time to prevent the consumption of alcohol, thefts and sexual assault at the annual end of term party that brings together between 4-6,000 young people in Alcudia.

All parents of underage students in the municipalities of Alcudia, sa Pobla, Pollensa, Santa Margalida, Muro, Inca, Sineu, Porreres, Binissalem and Manacor will receive in the coming weeks an informative letter about the party planned by young people on June 8. They will be given the mobile number of a plain-clothed “police guardian” from their town who will be present on the night to help protect the students.


Quandary at the Parroquies in Pollensa

The image of the Virgin that stars in the procession of the Reunion on Easter Sunday was shattered when the table she was placed on gave way after the Easter service. The rector, Xisco Vicens, has opened a consultation to decide if he should restore the statuette, replace it with an older one or order a totally new one. Working with the local paper, Punt Informatiu has launched a poll on its website for people of the town to have their say. 

The rector explained that the broken figure does not have a great patrimonial value: “It is at most 100 years old and is made of plaster based on moulds... although it can be restored, it would not be the same, but one thing is the patrimonial value and another the devotion; It’s the one that people know.” The alternative is to recover an older and more valuable carving (of the eighteenth century) that was in procession before, but it would be necessary to rebuild its clothes. The results of the survey will not be binding but the parish Council wants to know opinions before making the final decision.


Train to Alcudia

The Government has recovered the project to extend the train line to the port of Alcúdia. It is one of the long-term proposals included in the mobility plan to be presented by the Regional Ministry of Territory next month. It forms part of the government’s strategic plan to connect the two major ports of the Balearic Islands: Alcudia and Palma and the intention is for the islands to become more globally connected, greatly facilitating the connection between Palma and Ciutadella. 

The plan does not, however, solve the old question of where the train line will actually go. Such a source of contention, this is what caused the project’s downfall in 2009. Alcudia Mayor, Toni Mir told press he was surprised as they had not heard anything about the project. He wonders if it is just a “Globo Sonda”, a kind of experiment to test public opinion before it becomes real news.