Moray Council’s flooding guru is leaving his position with the authority to oversee the dualling of the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road through the region.
Dave Gowans took over the council’s projects division in 1998, and was one of the driving forces behind an £86million flood alleviation project that has safeguarded countless homes in Elgin from rising waters.
He also helped construct dams at Lhanbryde and Forres, and devised schemes to ease the flow of water through Rothes and along the River Findhorn.
But, today marks his final shift as the authority’s consultancy manager, and Mr Gowans will now join a firm dedicated to shaping the massive A96 upgrade scheme.
The chairman of Moray Council’s flood alleviation sub-committee, George Alexander, said the successful projects had made a huge difference to residents’ lives.
Flooding problems in Elgin date back 250 years, with the most recent severe incidents happening in 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2009.
In 2002, more than 200 households were evacuated and 10 people had to be airlifted to safety.
Mr Gowans said that, when he took on his role, his main priority was making flooding fears a thing of the past.
He said: “The focus was always to reduce flood risk to our communities, as quickly and sustainably as we could.
“Elgin was our trickiest scheme.”
After a decade of planning, construction on the town’s flood alleviation project started in April 2011, and it completed last August.
Mr Gowans had been appointed to lead work on the construction of the Western Link Road through Elgin, but when the initiative was axed earlier this year he decided to seek new pastures.
Mr Gowans added: “We have protected more than 2,500 properties. The early decisions were the right ones – we delivered as quickly as possible and below cost.
“But all things come to an end, and when funding for the Western Link Road was withdrawn I decided it was the right time for a fresh challenge.”
He will now join a team of consultants who are masterminding the dualling of the A96 between Auldearn and Fochabers.
Last night, the chairman of Moray Council’s flood alleviation sub-committee, George Alexander praised Mr Gowans.
The Forres councillor added: “The difference in Forres is incredible, the scheme at the Mosset Burn has taken a huge weight off peoples’ minds, as they previously lived in constant fright of being flooded.”