November 4th, 2008 by Alex Felsinger
Despite pleas from environmentalists and wildlife groups, the Scottish government has approved Donald Trump’s plans for a $1.5 billion golf resort along the Aberdeenshire coastline, an area previously designated as a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest.’
The government defends the decision by pointing to the hundreds of jobs the 2,000-acre facility will create amid a damaged economy. The facility is expected to generate $100 million annually for the Aberdeenshire community.
The government has essentially given Trump free reign to do what he’d like with the land with little-to-no environmental supervision. Wildlife groups had hoped to form a compromise, but instead, Trump’s development will not be required take the wildlife habitat into account whatsoever.
“The crazy thing is that there could easily have been both golf and environmental protection at Menie,” said Jonny Hughes, head of policy at the Scottish Wildlife Trust. “This decision will mean needless destruction to a unique and nationally important site.”
Final plans have yet to be completed, but within a couple months, Trump will begin constructing 1,000 homes and apartments, a 450-room hotel, and two golf courses. The resort is scheduled to open Spring 2011.
Originally the proposal faced opposition from Martin Ford, the former chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s planning committee.
“A billionaire’s vanity project has been put ahead of a Site of Special Scientific Interest,” he said. “The decision to build a golf course on an SSSI amounts to wanton vandalism. It is gratuitous, because at the inquiry it was demonstrated that it was possible to accommodate the golf course on the estate without using the SSSI.”
Michael Forbes takes personal offense to the plan: he owns a farm right in the middle of the area planned for the resort. He refused a buy-out from Trump earlier this year.
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