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Readers’ letters: Thinking behind city council’s priorities difficult to fathom

Union Terrace gardens under construction.  Picture by Paul Glendell     26/04/2022
Union Terrace gardens under construction. Picture by Paul Glendell 26/04/2022

Sir, – Last week on my way to M&S I walked along Union Terrace to view the lack of progress in the gardens and cannot imagine it ever being finished this year.

I noticed at either end what looked like a garden recycle point – on inquiring I was told it was landscaping work by the contractor.

It is an absolute disgrace.

Here we have another project Aberdeen City Council has approved of that will, like the rest of them, be over budget and over cost. Sir Ian Wood must be having a good laugh at all this.

They intend to close the swimming complex at the beach for good after the school holidays and can’t find the money to keep it open, yet they are speaking about creating another development further along the prom.

Where is the common sense in that – oh, I forgot, that is something our councillors don’t have?

Great to see the buses back on Union Street – I took the bus into town last Tuesday.

A number of passengers were saying they hadn’t seen friends for a long time, with the reply being it was because of the rerouting of the buses.

Up to about three years ago Aberdeen was a bustling city with traffic on Union Street and plenty of shops to visit. Now, due to Covid-19 and other circumstances beyond anyone’s control, there are plenty of empty shops on Union Street, there are no department stores and, until recently, people were never sure of the public transport system.

I admit there is Union Square but depending on which bus service is available to you, you may alight at the Music Hall as the next stop is Hadden Street. Either way, for anyone with a disability it is a long walk to Union Square.

Aberdeen has not been very considerate in making things easy for those who have one disability or another.The pedestrianisation of Union Street and Broad Street would only create traffic congestion on Guild Street and other parts of the city.

At present, people who have regular business at the main council offices in Broad Street have the convenience of a bus service, maybe to and from there.

On the subject of access for people with any type of handicap, why were escalators not included when the art gallery was refurbished?

Should our councillors continue spending money on projects the people of Aberdeen never have a say in?

They should be making sure the roads, streets and pavements are brought up to the standard the ratepayers deserve.

How many people like Mrs Stewart have to suffer the indignity of falling in the street before this matter is taken seriously?

George R. Davidson, Braemar Place, Aberdeen.

Grandstanding PM playing the clown

Sir, – The picture of the G7 leaders with President Zelensky epitomises Boris Johnson. Other world leaders on the immense Ukraine topic seem distracted for a photo, except Johnson’s “look how important I am in the world” thumbs-up grandstanding.

Meanwhile, most of the UK does not trust him.

Zelensky naturally accepts Johnson, and any support, but praise for the UK is likely rooted in the MoD’s (Ben Wallace) significant actions.

Wallace was the only UK minister engaged during the Afghanistan debacle.

Ukraine badly needs anti-missile defences, but Johnson’s untrustworthiness results in no influence on such with the US or Nato.

Johnston remains a clown on the world stage, destroying the UK’s reputation for decency.

His real experience seems to be ancient Greek and reactionary press articles.

Even as London mayor his legacy seems £50m in debt for a failed garden bridge and cross-Thames “zip wire”, and budget cuts to the fire brigade before Grenfell.

Why do some common folk, including MPs Jack, Duguid and Ross, in order of subservience, still accept a contemptuous uncaring clown to run a nation?

Mike Hannan, Earlswells Place, Cults, Aberdeen.

Police at partygate look the other way

Sir, – One has to assume the police on duty during the partygate events were under orders to suffer a bout of temporary blindness and so avoided searching the baggage of guests entering the door of No 10 en route to parties – so much for security.

A verse from the poem The Shut Eye Sentry, from Barrack Room Ballads by Rudyard Kipling seems to fit the situation down to a tee and goes on to describe the antics of two soldiers escorting one of the officers to his billet in an advanced state of intoxication.

It goes as follows:

The moon was white on the barracks

The road was white & wide

The orderly orf-cer took it all

An the ten foot ditch beside.

The corporal pulled & the sergeant pushed

And the three they danced along.

But i’d shut my eyes in the sentry box

So i did’nt see nothin wrong.

Though it was rounds what rounds

O corporal old i’m up

E’s using his cap as it shouldn’t be used

But sentry shut your eye

An it was pass alls well

Ho shun the foaming cup

E’ll need an affidavit pretty badly

By & by etc

Duncan MacDonald. 13 Drumdyre Road, Dingwall.

SNP seem blind to Scottish problems

Sir, –Scottish cancer patients are dying as waiting lists for treatment are the worst they have ever been in Scotland, with consultants now saying that it has reached an unworkable situation.

It is Scotland’s complete shame that our current SNP-Green government is wholly preoccupied with holding a second referendum in 2023 and ignoring the real problems facing Scotland.

In the matter of a second referendum this is strictly a reserved power which has not been devolved to Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon needs to be mindful of the penalties she could incur by breaking the law of the land.

Scotland deserves better.

Dennis Forbes Grattan. Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen.

Fracking for gas is just fool’s errand

Sir, – Your regular correspondent Clark Cross continues to promote the interests of his fossil fuel friends through your letters pages. His latest litany of nonsense concerns the moratorium on hydraulic fracking.

Mr Cross suggests that the chemicals used in fracking are no different from those found under kitchen sinks – this is rubbish. In the US, the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) states that in fracking fluids “common ingredients include methanol, ethylene glycol, and propargyl alcohol.

Those chemicals, along with many others used in fracking fluid, are considered hazardous to human health”. Many of the fracking chemicals are, however, a closely-guarded secret by oil and gas companies. The NRDC goes on to say “the potential human health impacts of the majority of chemicals used in fracking formulas are simply unknown”.

These chemicals do not stay underground – much of the fluid is returned to the surface as wastewater and dumped in local waterways or gradually finds its way into groundwater supplies.

Mr Cross dismisses the earth tremors from fracking as little more than sitting down on a chair. The recent trial of fracking near Preston in Lancashire was, however, halted as a result of a series of earthquakes, the last one powerful enough to frighten scores of residents in their own homes. The (at the time) Oil and Gas Authority stated: “For future operations, the possibility of larger events could not be excluded and these could cause damage and disturbance unacceptable under the current policy guidance.”

The oil and gas industry has provided no evidence that fracking can be conducted safely and with due consideration to homeowners and farmers. It does not even know that fracking can produce gas economically.

Fracking for gas is a fool’s errand – it should be left in the ground.

Jeff Rogers, Waters of Feugh, Banchory.

Who rules our roads?

Sir, – After reading the article about the draconian parking proposals for the Rosemount and Queen’s Cross areas, I then read the letter by James Noel about the planning department at Aberdeen City Council trying to overturn a democratic decision on opening Union Street to buses. This leads me to ask: who runs Aberdeen – the politicians or the planners?

Urban planners seem to be working on behalf of the Scottish Government, whose love of cycle lanes and hatred of anything powered by the internal combustion engine is well known, with the interests of the local economy being of secondary importance.

Jonathan Mitchell

Reputation on line for rowies

Sir, – I write to say I wholeheartedly agree with Ian Craig regarding Aberdeen rowies.

There’s no way they can be called ‘butteries’ now, their texture/taste has completely altered.

Some of the mass-produced ones I have bought are, in fact, inedible!

Artisan bakers do produce better rolls but are expensive.

Please bakers, give me a valid reason for this catastrophe!

Rowie-loving oap, Cove Bay.

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