Opposition councillors have slammed the decision to spend £155,615 on an art installation in Woodside while shutting the library around the corner.
Earlier today, members of the city council’s finance and resources committee unanimously approved a funding grant for the Woodside Gateway.
The local authority leads the Tilly-Wood Street Design Project along with the Street Design Steering Group and charity Sustrans.
As part of the project, a more welcoming entrance would be created on Don Street and Western Road from Great Northern Road.
The Woodside Gateway is aimed at making the area a more attractive place to live, work and move around in, thanks to planned streetscape and infrastructure work.
A mini-park would be formed, creating a “warm welcome” to the neighbourhood with new sculptures and planting.
Meanwhile, the historic fountain on Great Northern Road would be reinstated as part of the works.
‘The fight to retain our libraries goes on’
But the decision to fund the project was raised by Labour councillor M. Tauqeer Malik.
At a meeting of the full council on Monday, he referred to a recent press article focused on campaigners and their efforts to save six much-loved Aberdeen libraries.
Facilities in Cornhill, Cults, Ferryhill, Kaimhill, Northfield and Woodside are all expected to close their doors for the final time this week.
The closures were agreed as part of the SNP and Lib Dem partnership budget.
Mr Malik told the chamber: “One protester said ‘We don’t have much in Woodside, the library is the only space that is open to all and is the centre of the community’.
“But yet SNP councillors who represent the ward seem oblivious to this fact.”
A frustrated councillor Malik added: “When you walk or drive past Woodside Gateway, you can now look at this unused library building.
“Many right across the city are wondering what is going on at Aberdeen City Council as they are witnessing their community facilities close.
“Cults Library is a much-cherished community facility that will close because the SNP is choosing to spend money on a project in Woodside that is inferior to saving public libraries right across the city.”
He added: “The fight to retain our libraries goes on.”
Councillor claims SNP’s priorities are ‘all wrong’
Meanwhile, Woodside councillor Deena Tissera said the Gateway project was “welcome but not as welcome as having our libraries open”.
The Labour member added: “Whilst I always welcome money being spent in my ward, you do have to ask if the administration knows its right hand from its left.
“The SNP priorities are all wrong and I suspect the residents of Woodside would prefer the money be spent on libraries.”
At Monday’s meeting, she also claimed the partnership could have used cash awarded to the Holburn West Church project instead.
She said the party “rubbed the noses of the community in the sand” by granting £250,000 to what she described as a “pet project”.
Council co-leader defends decision to close libraries
But council co-leader, councillor Ian Yuill fought back, saying he stood by “every single line” of the partnership’s budget.
He said: “Closing the libraries and Bucksburn Swimming Pool were very difficult decisions but we chose not to cut £3.7 million from schools, the equivalent of 100 teaching jobs.”
He added: “It was difficult, at times horrible, but we produced a balanced budget.”