An 11-foot high wall could be driven through the heart of Ballater’s golf course and caravan park as part of a proposed £31 million flood protection scheme.
Business leaders and residents fear the chosen option for protecting the village would plunge the community into economic turmoil.
But following a two-year study, Aberdeenshire Council is currently considering a final option for scheme to submit to the Scottish Government for funding.
The project was established in the wake of Storm Frank at the end of 2015 but the clock is now ticking, with a need to submit the plan before a deadline of December 31.
Were that funding window to be missed, the next opportunity to bid would not be until after 2022, increasing the time before defences are installed.
Storm Frank caused millions of pounds of damage as flooding ravaged the north-east and it could be argued no community was worse-hit in Aberdeenshire than Ballater.
Many businesses were submerged and residents left homeless after the River Dee burst its banks.
Ballater’s caravan park was almost completely destroyed, with some of the caravans washed down river and the Deeside village’s golf course was similarly damaged.
Council officers have now prepared a preliminary plan based on their preferred option, which would involve the construction of two miles of direct defences, as well as the potential relocation of the caravan park, fire station, police station and a council depot.
The new defence plan, if approved, would involve the construction of earth embankments, reinforced concrete walls and glass barriers.
At a meeting of the local authority’s Marr Area Committee yesterday, councillors heard from Jim Hunter, the president of Ballater Golf Club, who said the club objects to proposals to build an enormous wall directly through its fairways, arguing that many of its members have said they would leave if the plans proceed.
Although officers considered the option of putting the barriers along the riverbank, it was ruled to be too costly and it was also deemed inappropriate given concerns it could increase the flow of floodwater by constricting the River Dee.
Mr Hunter said: “We’re not in favour of the proposal.
“We understand that it is paramount for the village to be protected but we have at least 30 to 40 members saying they would leave if we have this big flood wall built across the course.
“Golf courses across Scotland are all really struggling just now and this really wouldn’t help at all.”
Michael Coletta, former chairman of the Ballater Flood Response Group and chairman of the Ballater Business Association added: “There is no open mind from council officers to consider alternatives, which is infuriating from the community’s perspective.
“If you don’t have tourist attractions like the golf course and the caravan park to bring in visitors to the village, you struggle to get inward investment.”
A number of councillors on the committee, including Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Paul Gibb said they would not be able to support the plans in their current form, but highlighted the need for suitable defences.
One of the councillors in favour was fellow Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Peter Argyle, who is also chairman of the infrastructure committee.
The plans will next be considered at the Infrastructure Services Committee on November 28.