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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Aberdeen City Council, listen to your constituents, not oil tycoons.

People are calling out for justice- make the right choice

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Campaigners have been fighting against the proposed redevelopment of St Fittick's Park for over three years. Image Credit: Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Politicians across party lines often talk about the "just transition" and the need for increased reliance on renewable energy.

How is the current situation in Torry a "just transition," in any sense of the word?

St Fittick's, a beloved community park and one of the only accessible green spaces in the area, is set to be bulldozed to build industrial office space.

By some estimates, Torry residents live a decade less than their neighbours in Aberdeen’s affluent West End.

This is less surprising when one considers the heavy industry already at work in Torry, from a freshly built incinerator to decades of oil and gas industry in the area.

Over objections from the community and medical professionals, the Labour/Conservative led Council voted to remove St Fittick's environmental protections in March 2020, paving the way for its redevelopment.

In the three and a half years since, despite a change in administration, the Council has continued to progress the project.

It's baffling- the SNP/Lib Dem coalition who voted to protect the park in 2020 seem content to let it be destroyed in 2023.

On the other side of the coin, Labour and Conservative councillors claim to have seen the light, now arguing that St Fitticks must be preserved.

Why the change, on both counts?

It seems that St Fittick's is the perfect issue to support while in opposition- you'll get good soundbites and can promote yourself as a protector of the people's park.

But as we're seeing, once the rubber hits the road, those actuallymaking decisions seem incapable of standing up for the people of Torry.

I don't know Sir Ian Wood, although I understand he was a Gaudie member in the distant past.

I'm sure he'd claim to have good intentions, and perhaps that is sincere.

But it really doesn't matter.

Good intentions don't equate right decisions.

Given the largesse of deserted brownfield sites across Aberdeen, the use of St Fittick's seems incredibly unnecessary.

Representatives of ETZ Ltd, the company behind all this (set up by Mr Wood) have warned that removing St Fittick's from the equation could result in millions in lost revenue.

These are big claims, and must be scrutinised carefully.

What is for sure is that Torry will soon lose access to much of its only accessible green space.

So here's a challenge for you, councillors.

Listen to your constituents, and do what's best for them, not for oil rich titans of industry.

The erosion of public trust which began with the closure of libraries and swimming pools in March will only increase if these plans are allowed to go ahead.

A favourite saying of mine is a verse from the book of Amos.

"Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream…"

These words ring true even now.

Justice can roll through Torry, if those in power have the courage to do what's right.

Make the right choice.

Save St Fittick's Park.


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