Tories vote to drown out the voice of the people
The regular flooding of Dumfries as our provincial capital is becoming more of a national embarrassment as each year passes but today the SNP Council Group voted to support the Whitesands Flood Protection scheme going to a Public Local Inquiry. The importance of an independent appraisal of the amended Scheme means the proposal, and any outstanding objections, can now be given a fair and public hearing, the outcome of which should be respected by all parties.
Dumfries Councillor, Andy Ferguson, withstood undue personal criticism from minority opposition councillors to reinforce the SNP local election commitment to ensure the Scheme would be revisited.
“We always wanted the public to have the final say, and deciding to submit it to Ministers means we can get a public hearing where an independent Reporter can ensure any remaining objections are fairly dealt with. If they decide the Scheme needs modifications or even if it should be rejected, we have to accept the independent assessment as being transparent and fair.”
The Whitesands Scheme continues to generate opinion but following public feedback to the initial proposals, significant modifications to the height, size and shape and other details of the design were made. These attempt to address common concerns about dredging, visual impact, cost, alternative schemes, car parking, effects on businesses, maintenance, increased flooding elsewhere, and the next step in the process has now been achieved with the Scheme being put forward to Scottish Ministers without further amendment.
Councillor Tracey Little was disappointed but not surprised with the attitude of some Conservative Councillors:
“It’s frightful that they would rather reject the scheme outright than support a reasonable and progressive step forward to tackle this long-standing issue and give a voice to the people of Dumfries.”