Calls were yesterday made for clarity over plans to reopen the city art gallery following a multi-million pound revamp.
Council chiefs said last week that the final construction works of the £30million project were now taking place and a fit out of the city’s art treasures would begin in the middle of this month.
But Aberdeen Central SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said the information contradicted what he had been told some five months ago.
In August, Mr Stewart questioned the price tag put on the massive redevelopment, which includes a new copper-clad roof, new exhibition space and a glass-fronted rooftop space.
And in September, following revelations of another serious delay to the project, council culture spokeswoman Marie Boulton said that the construction work was due to be complete and the fit out started “in the coming weeks”.
Work on the A-listed, 1884-built building was due to be completed initially in 2017.
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In a response to a Freedom of Information request by The Press and Journal, the council said it could not provide the estimated cost of the project due to “commercial sensitivity”.
Last night Mr Stewart said: “Time and time again this council coalition have displayed a complete lack of control over this project.
“Way back in September we were told the construction works were to be completed within weeks. This week the council reported construction works are still to be finished. Folk in Aberdeen will be wondering what on earth is going on?
“The grim reality is that this is one of many delayed projects which has become a hallmark of the Tory and suspended Labour councillors who run our city.
“All the while those same councillors seek to hide the true cost of this shambolic project from the public, which I fear has spiralled out of control.
“After two years of delays, it is high time the Labour and Tory council got a grip of this project and provided some answers.”
Jenny Laing, co-leader Aberdeen City Council said: “I am sure the public of Aberdeen will warmly welcome the reopening of the art gallery later this year.
“The administration I co-lead is proud of the way in which we have invested positively in our city centre and the refurbished Aberdeen Art Gallery will be instrumental in helping to shape the city’s future.
“Given that Kevin Stewart, MSP, has remained totally silent regarding the diabolical local government settlement for Aberdeen which will undoubtedly put future infrastructure projects like the art gallery at risk, I am sure the public will see right through his latest effort to talk the city down and treat his comments with the contempt they deserve.”
The Aberdeen Art Gallery, which was closed for refurbishment in 2015, was initially slated to open two years ago.
Art enthusiasts have been promised modern digital displays, a new and improved war memorial and a dedicated educational space when the refit is complete.
The ambitious scheme will also include 21 new gallery spaces, an area for artists in residence and a dedicated community gallery to exhibit more of Aberdeen’s artwork.
The Heritage Lottery Fund pledged £20million towards the renovation project with the remaining £10million to come from a fundraising campaign.
Residents, philanthropists and businesses from across the country were all asked to stake their claim in the new Aberdeen Art Gallery through donations and sponsorship.
However, it emerged two years ago that only £3million of donations had been donated by the public.
The city holds an impressive collection of artworks spanning from the 15th century to the present day with works by Henry Raeburn, William Hogarth, Allan Ramsay and Joshua Reynolds.
There are also contemporary pieces by Francis Bacon and the Scottish Colourists.
Last week council co-leader Jenny Laing said: “We are confident the revamped gallery will rival regional galleries around the world and it will provide residents and visitors with a greater opportunity to view the city’s outstanding art collection.”