A multi-million-pound flood prevention scheme in Stonehaven was nearly stopped in its tracks yesterday.
The £26.6million scheme to protect Stonehaven was revealed last month and, under the plans, parts of the town’s sea wall and promenade could be raised, while the existing sea defences are upgraded.
But numerous concerns were raised about the raised sea wall locally, prompting councillors yesterday to consider taking no further action to protect the town.
Members of the Kincardine and Mearns areas committee discussed the proposals before they go to the infrastructure services committee who will present a final plan to Sepa next year.
Project engineer Graham McAllan told councillors yesterday that the feedback regarding the sea wall had been taken on board – and that the possibility of transparent material or lowered sections of walls outside businesses could be considered.
He added the preferred option was “subject to change.”
Councillors then raised concerns over a lack of groundwork investigations carried out – raising fears the study was “hurried” along in order to “get a foot in the door” to receive funding from the Scottish Government.
North Kincardine councillor Colin Pike suggested Stonehaven would be in “grave danger” if the process wasn’t halted.
He added: “This is mother nature at work – no matter what we do that wall will not stop the water getting over.”
Stonehaven councillor Sandy Wallace then presented a motion for “no action at all” and warned: “If we get this wrong now, we’ve got it wrong for good.”
Fellow ward councillor Wendy Agnew seconded the motion with the added amendment that subsequent investigations be carried out into other options – such as fishtail groynes.
However the pair were defeated as the committee voted in favour of Stonehaven councillor Sarah Dickinson.
She suggested the multi-million-pound scheme be supported, but with the idea that more could be done in the sea itself to protect the town, this in turn reducing the need for a raised sea wall.
The motion read: “The committee support taking action to address the flood risk in Stonehaven to achieve a 1/200-year flood protection level.
“This action recognises the potential need for an increase in sea wall height as a result of projected sea level increases.
“However, the committee asks that all defences at sea are maximised in order to ensure that the sea wall height is optimised at the lowest achievable level such that the promenade need not be raised.”
Mearns councillor Jeff Hutchison added: “Doing nothing is not an option – we can’t pass this problem on to further generations.”