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'We Cannae Live': St Fittick's campaigners bring their fight to UoA

Students were encouraged to join the campaign to save Torry's last public green space from industrial development

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Members of the campaign marched in the TUC's May Day Parade, held last Saturday.

Community members fighting to save Torry's only public park took their campaign to the University of Aberdeen yesterday evening.

Campaigners with the Friends of St Fittick's Park screened two short documentaries in a New Kings lecture theatre before leading a group discussion on the campaign and its future.

The documentaries, which focused on the campaign to save St Fittick's Park, Torry's last public green space, told a grim story.

Beginning in the early 1970s with the discovery of North Sea oil, the documentaries recounted, the neighbourhoods of Torry faced increasing levels of industrialization.

First, a base for the burgeoning oil and gas industry was built, leading to the bulldozing of the historic fishing village of Old Torry.

Later, landfills and a sewage treatment plant were constructed in the area, followed by a powerful incinerator completed earlier this year.

Today, the life expectancy for a resident of Torry is 13 years lower than that for someone living in Aberdeen's affluent West End.

Despite being surrounded by industrial malaise, Torry residents took pride in St Fittick's Park, an expansive green space teeming with wildlife and biodiversity.

Yet, in a move described by campaigners as a 'land grab,' ETZ, a company headed by energy tycoon Sir Ian Wood, secured permission from Aberdeen City Council last year to raze one-third of the park's acreage, clearing space for an industrial park which will make up part of Aberdeen's 'Energy Transition Zone.'

For many Torry residents, the threat of losing their sole green space has been a step too far.

Speaking in the documentary, a man from Torry who often brings his children to St Fittick's questioned why the park was earmarked for bulldozing. He said: 'Why would they do such a thing? We need this place. This is our home.'

Another resident warned that Torry, which has a population of over 10,000, has become 'a dumping ground for unwelcome things that no one else want[s].'

'We cannae live…' a third Torry resident added.

Much like those fighting to save six libraries and a swimming pool after Council cuts shuttered the facilities, campaigners expressed concern over a lack of community engagement and proper impact assessment prior to the decision to allow the park to be industrialised.

And like the library campaigners, the Friends of St Fittick's have yet to gain the ear of Aberdeen City Council, which passed a motion confirming the St Fittick's development in December 2022.

Despite these setbacks, campaigners have redoubled their efforts, petitioning the Scottish Government to block the development.

To get involved with the Friends of St Fittick's Park, you can visit their website here.


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