"Back my vision for the city or lose £50m, Sir Ian warns" read the headline from March 14th Press and Journal announcing the results of the Public Consultation into his own plan, majority funded by us, the taxpayer, The City Square Project. Despite the results of the consultation coming back with an astounding 55% against, a majority of 11%, Sir Ian still sees this as “marginally negative” and not enough for him to take to the outcome of the Public Consultation, which has been payrolled to the tune of around £300,000 by the same Public. Adding to the pressure, ACSEF Chair Tom Smith warned that “Rejection of this £140million investment will damage Aberdeen city’s reputation.”
Speaking to the BBC, Wood claimed that "I will be disappointed if Aberdeen City Council decide in their wisdom not to proceed with the transformational scheme" going on to explain his scheme as "The vision is to maximise the attractiveness of our city to win the new energy opportunities and become a world energy city. My offer of funds was to help achieve that, not to spruce up our city centre." Wood's statement, while consciously contradicting itself, again lacks any evidence which would show how or why capping off the Denburn Valley would secure long-term "jobs and prosperity" or how not building the square would lead us to certain doom.
Everyone's favourite benevolent Knight even goes so far as to try and suggest that "What is referred to as 'my vision' is in fact the vision, aspiration and hopes of many, many Aberdonians for the future economic and civic wellbeing of our city and region as North Sea oil winds down," a statement which inspired boos and jeering when he made the same claims at the Labour-organised public debate, and one that certainly does not wash in the face of many, many Aberdonians voting against the scheme in the consultation.
Sir Ian uses the article to backtrack on his previous promises, stating "My funds offer, spelt out in November 2008, was clearly conditional on achieving transformational change, and on Aberdeen City Council and the people of Aberdeen supporting the vision," however, tracing back to November 2008, Sir Ian said "I am only prepared to provide up to £50 million if it has strong support from the people of Aberdeen and the North-east of Scotland," no mention whatsoever of the Aberdeen City Council. An ACSEF spokeswoman reiterated this during the consultation period "If the public does not support this project then he will withdraw his offer of £50million and it will not go ahead," and Wood, going as far as to goad the public by saying "If the citizens of Aberdeen decide they don’t want this city square then I’ll just finish up a miserable old Aberdonian who’s £50million better off." and reiterated the point himself at the beginning of the consultation by saying "I have always said that if the public does not support this vision then my offer of funding will be withdrawn."
Of course, now that the public has not backed his Scheme, Uncle Ian has decided that the decision must now be down to ACC as "This is clearly the most valid exercise of the democratic process.” It seems that Wood is now invalidating ACSEF's "robust and comprehensive" Consultation, and indeed the views of the people of Aberdeen and the fundemental keystone of democracy: Majority rule.