New Year Address by Ibiza President, Vicent Torres
“Eivissencs and eivissenques,
I am writing to you to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a good 2017.
I am speaking from Finca Can Marines in the municipality of Santa Eulalia, as a symbol of our land and as a symbol of our people.”
“We all feel very proud of this landscape, this heritage, our customs and traditions … but all that we hold dear about our Island would not have been possible without the generations that have preceded us. The men and women of Ibiza’s countryside deserve our recognition of the importance we place on their dedication to the land.
During the last year, the Consell adopted very important new regulations regarding land ownership. For the first time we have recognised the right to build on rural land for inheritance or family reasons, and in doing so afforded protection to rural families against speculative financial interests.
During 2017 we will initiate the revision of the overall planning model, ‘de tot el PTI’. This will be a complex process during which we will be seeking the views of farmers, as well as all the political forces and groups involved in the definition of an Island model and sustainable future for all.”
Tourism & Public Services
“There is no doubt that Ibiza receives enormous pressure from a level of tourism greater than we have ever known before. 2016 was a record year, and we predict that 2017 will also be extraordinary.
We have to take the opportunity to solve any problems this causes, because tourism should help to improve our quality of life.
To achieve this we must look to ensuring quality public services, good public transport, safe roads, suitably controlled countryside, beaches and coastline, and with tourism activities that do not cause undue noise or other inconvenience.
It is in our hands to improve the Island model. This is one of the goals the Board has set for the new year. It begins with a historical investment in public transport, with major road improvements at Can Negret and Jesus.
We will also be working closely with the authorities responsible for ensuring the provision of our water supplies and the launch of the new emissary (sewerage outlet) of Talamanca, which we expect to begin operating next summer.
Tourism & Housing
“To ensure we continue to improve our quality of life, we need to equip ourselves with more and better instruments of control.
The new regional regulations regarding tourist rentals due to be introduced in 2017 will be of great importance. There is no doubt that Ibiza needs changes to be made to the current proposals if the new regulations are to serve our needs.
It is very important that the new regulations help us to fight a wide range of unregulated tourism we are experiencing at present.
It is a serious problem that has led to the saturation point that we suffer in the summer. This has triggered the housing crisis due to prices beyond the means of many Island residents. It has caused enormous problems of coexistence between tourists and residents.
All the institutions of our Island have spoken out clearly against allowing apartments to be let to the tourist market. In Ibiza it is not allowed to let any apartment to tourists. We need a new regulatory structure that will not only prohibit tourist apartments, but also ensure we have the power to enforce the ban, which currently does not happen.
It is a priority of this Consell to address our Island housing problems by using all of the powers and resources we have at our disposal.
To assist in this goal we have initiated contacts with other authorities in order to obtain public land.
Our aim is that, for the first time, the Consell of Ibiza housing policy will incorporate rental promotions to families and workers.
Social Issues & Welfare
“We want an Ibiza of equal opportunities for all. An Island that is socially just, with quality social services, quality education and with the best public health services.
During the holidays, my thoughts as President of Ibiza is first and foremost for those of our people facing difficulties in their lives, and to those who are most vulnerable. This can take many forms including those at risk of exclusion, our children, the elderly, and women and children who are victims of gender violence. It is our duty as a society to help all disadvantaged people and fight to eradicate all violence against women once and for all.
Best Wishes for the New Year
“I would also like to acknowledge all of the people who work for us whilst we are enjoying the Christmas festivities. My thanks goes out to all those working in the emergency services, in our health services, and in our environmental services.
Also to all the volunteers who give their time in charitable projects to distribute food and clothing to those in need, and also deserving our thanks all those who work in the hospitality sector we rely upon to make it possible for us to spend a happy holiday.
And finally I wish everybody good health, and my hope that you will have a very happy 2017.
Vicent Torres Guasch