Festive message from the Leader of Aberdeenshire Council
19th December 2012
The Leader of Aberdeenshire Council has used his festive message to reflect on the major infrastructure and development projects which have been taken forward this year and their importance to the North-east.
Just a few of the projects highlighted by Councillor Jim Gifford are the council’s investment in broadband, pre-school and nursery provision, the start of construction at Mearns Academy and the completion of the Stonehaven Care Village.
In the video message on Aberdeenshire Council’s website he also expressed his delight that work on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route was finally under way, describing it as one of the most significant projects for the North-east in decades and vital to the long-term prosperity of the region.
Councillor Jim Gifford, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council said:
“I can’t believe that we are nearing the end of 2012, with Christmas and New Year a matter of days away.
“This is always an extremely busy time of the year for many people, as they juggle work, prepare for celebrations with friends and family, and begin to look towards the coming year.
“It is also a time for reflection on the changes, events and achievements of the past 12 months and there are certainly plenty of things that spring to mind here in Aberdeenshire.
“There were, of course, the council elections in May, the historic visit of the Olympic Torch Relay and Diamond Jubilee celebrations in communities across the area.
“In terms of Aberdeenshire Council, there are a number of notable initiatives I’ve been extremely pleased to witness being brought forward this year. In June, at a meeting of the full council, it was agreed to focus on six key areas for development which included investment in towns and villages, assistance to small and medium sized business and a focus on tourism and the hospitality industry.
“The council has also committed to increasing pre-school and nursery provision, increasing care at home services for older people and accelerating plans to improve roads, provide affordable housing and replace schools and care homes.
“These areas have received a £13 million boost this year, due to the council’s £20 million underspend through on-going efficiency projects, and I’m delighted that we are in a position to invest in our communities and to develop the areas that our residents have highlighted as important to them.
“I am also delighted to see that preparatory works are now underway on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, one of the most significant projects for the North-east in recent decades, and one which is vital to the long-term prosperity of the region.
“We recognise too, the importance of improving access to broadband for businesses and residents across the area. There is a great deal of innovation and expertise within Aberdeenshire and we do not want to lose out on that because we cannot provide the tools people need to conduct business competitively.
“To address this, the council made a commitment in September of £18 million to improve broadband provision in Aberdeenshire, due to be spent over the next three years.
“2012 has seen a number of the council’s capital plan projects moving forward, with the new Stonehaven Care Village now complete and the residents settled in time for their first Christmas in the new home.
“Fraserburgh Sports and Community Centre is due to open ahead of schedule in February, providing the local community with a state-of-the-art £9 million facility which features a six-lane championship pool and sports and fitness facilities.
“Work started on the £20 million Mearns Academy Community Campus project in September, while plans for a £40 million replacement of Ellon Academy are on programme for delivery in 2015.
“There has also been national recognition for the council in terms of COSLA awards for our Community Asset Transfer scheme, school transport safety, school travel planning in Aberdeenshire, our Kaizen for Daily Improvement scheme and workSPACE initiative.
“In October, Aberdeenshire Council become the first Scottish local authority to win an accolade at the National Transport Awards, receiving the top honor in the Most Effective Road Safety, Traffic Management & Enforcement Project category – a very impressive achievement.
“Clearly, it has been a busy year, with lots to look forward to in the coming months.
“I’d like to thank all the council staff, across all services, for their dedication and hard work over the past 12 months. It has not been an easy year in many regards, but I’m always impressed by the way staff members pull together and continue to help deliver so many high quality services for residents.
“I hope everyone has the opportunity for some much deserved time off over Christmas and New Year, to get together with family and friends, and recharge their batteries to come back fresh and ready for what 2013 has to bring.
“I would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.”
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