Minorcan apartment for TV show winners A SIMPLE telephone call to the ITV show, I want that house, turned Amanda Mountain, into the winner of an apartment in Coves Noves, Minorca. On December 15, the programme, which usually shows couples selected properties abroad with a view to purchase, changed its format to give viewers a chance to win a property, in either Florida, Italy or Minorca. Sheffield-resident, Amanda Mountain, phoned in a correct answer to a question about the Balearic Islands, winning the competition. Local estate agent Tonia Kirk from Menorcasa, who selected the property, was charged with the task of contacting the winners. The Mountain family, now the proud owners of a 210'000 euro three bedroom apartment, flew to the island for the first time in January to view their new home. Needless to say, they are delighted. MADRID has included the island of Lazareto, in Mahon's port, in its list of new paradors, or state run luxury hotels. A viability study has to carried out of the location but Antoni Costas, the president of the chain of public hotels, assures that Minorca's project will receive approval soon. Two other potential locations included in the list are Badajoz and Estella in Navarra. The self-governing organisation Turespaña and the society of Paradors will carry out the study, looking at economic feasibility, architectural factors and technical aspects of the proposed location. The proposal has local government approval, as in November 2004, the non-legal proposal by the PP was unanimously approved by the Balearic government recommending Minorca as a potential location for a parador, with Lazareto strongly highlighted as the regional government's preference. Minorca has had a lazaretto, or hospital for containing people or goods with infectious diseases, on Quarantine Island in the port for centuries. It was under the second British domination of Minorca that activity on the island increased, with the hospital in full operation in 1771. But as maritime activity increased, the island soon proved insufficient in space. In 1785, with Minorca now under Spanish control, Count Floridablanca began work on the peninsular opposite La Mola at the port's entrance, known as “Little Philip”, constructing a new lazaretto. But as Minorca passed from Spanish hands, to the British, and then back to the Spanish, followed by a war with France, these events meant the hospital was not finished until 1817. In 1900 the peninsular “Little Philip” was separated from the mainland by a canal, without the canal, it was a long journey out to the mouth of the port, before double backing into the channel separating “Little Philip” and La Mola. The island this canal created was named Lazareto Island. Today, the hospital still stands. Owned by the Ministry of Health, it is used for holidays and conferences for doctors and medical staff. The conversion of the Lazareto into a parador would require the agreement of the Ministry of Health and the Secretary of State for Tourism. So far, no budgets for the project have been laid out, but turning the site into a parador is likely to have a cost of between 12 and 20 million euros. Mahon's mayor, Arturo Bagur believes the announcement is “very good news” for the town. Offering Central Government total support for the project from the town hall, Bagur explained, “if we all work in the same direction, this iniciative can move forwards”. Bagur also commented on the plans to restore Bloody Island, the Isla del Rey in the port, where an old British naval hospital stands and is being gradually reformed by a group of volunteers. Improvements and new projects on both islands, Bagur remarked, will preserve and promote part of the port's historic patrimony. CIUTADELLA'S mayor, Llorenc Brondo, and other local politicians visited their twin town of Oristano, on the island of Sardinia over the weekend, to join in the town's annual fiesta, Sa Sartiglia. The group from Ciutadella presented their Italian hosts with a series of Minorcan gifts, including cheeses, sausages and pastries. Oristano's fiesta holds much in common with Ciutadella's St John festivities. Originating from medieval times, both involve games on horse back and music is an integral part of the celebration. The masked riders, while galloping they bear swords in an attempt to pierce hanging stars in Italy, mirror the Minorcan riders in the games played in Ciutadella's port. This medieval connection is kept alive by the link between the two towns. Ciutadella's mayor gave his Italian counterpart, Antonio Barberio, two ceramic figures representing the senior and priest horse riders, integral parts of the St John fiesta, with Barberio giving Brondo several pieces of pottery from the province of Oristano as well as a collection of publications about the Sa Sartiglio fiesta. THE supermarket chain, Caprabo, has received approval from the Balearic government to open a branch in Ciutadella. It will be the first store held by the chain on the island. The Balearic government believes the new supermarket will encourage competition between existing retailers. Francesc Tutzo, general director for commerce in the region, believes that the chain would “enrich” competition, without affecting independent retailers, offering greater choice. Minorca's Island Council, ASCOME, the Minorcan business' association, and other small and medium-sized businesses expressed their rejection of Caprabo's request. Joan Moll, president of ASCOME, warned that the island already has an “excess” of large supermarket chains, and stressed that the out of town location of supermarkets has a negative affect on shops in the town centre. Moll calls instead for the “revitalisation” of the island's historic town centres, showing preference for smaller shops and stores within towns. AFTER nearly two years in power, Minorca's island president, Joana Barcelo, has just finalised her team at the Island Council. Barcelo was forced to reshuffle her team of councillors in September 2004, following the resignation of vice-president, Carme Garcia Querol. Two other politicians also resigned in sympathy with Garcia. At the time, Barcelo took advantage to restructure the council, creating some new positions and new departments, but the final make up of the island council wasn't made public until Monday this week. Four new faces join Barcelo's team of politicians. Ruben Martin is the new Insular director for transport and mobility; Gracia Hernandez is Insular Director for economic and juridical services. Vicenc Tur is to be Insular Director for Town & Country planning while Ernest Ribalaiga is Insular Director for Internal Services. Joana Barcelo denies the filling of these posts has been a long time in coming, “it hasn't taken a long time,” she explained, “because it is important to have a solid team, like this one, a team which has plenty of time ahead of it”. But the number of changes made to the insular council, the time taken to fill vacant posts and the apparent difficulty Barcelo has had in keeping people in their posts have marked a period of instability for the council, a period Barcelo no doubt hopes will end with these new appointments.

Port Island to become a parador

Visit to Italian twin town

New supermarket approved for Ciutadella

Island council reshuffle finalised