FURIOUS residents of the Aberdeenshire town of Stonehaven – devastated by two floods since November 2009 – have been warned they will have to live with the threat of further damage to their homes for at least four years before an effective protection scheme can be put in place.
Colin Mackenzie, the chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council, faced a call to resign at a stormy public meeting in the town on Tuesday night at which the timescale for the construction of a flood alleviation scheme was revealed.
And yesterday Greig Walker, the spokesman for the Stonehaven Community Flood Action Group, said the residents of the town were not prepared to wait another four years. And they were demanding immediate action by the council to counter the threat of further flooding.
He said: “Every time there is heavy rain nobody sleeps. We are totally dissatisfied with the lack of action by the council and we want something to be put in place tomorrow to protect our homes – not in four years’ time.”
Mr Walker said the action group was demanding at least the installation of a system of new storm drains and a system of emergency pumps to counter the flooding threat in the harbour area of the town,
At least 40 homes and businesses were flooded two days before Christmas after the River Carron burst its banks and flooded roads around the High Street area of Stonehaven for the second time in three years. Many of the homes were also flooded in November 2009, when the Carron also burst its banks.
John Briggs, whose carpet shop in the town’s Bridgefield was flooded for a second time, called for the resignation of the chief executive at the public meeting attended by almost 500 townspeople.
He said: “We need to see something happening on the ground.”
Mr Mackenzie had earlier confirmed that the council was working on a timescale of “between two and four years”.
He said: “It would be irresponsible of me to say that we could do it any quicker than that. We will do it as quickly as we can but that is the realistic timescale – two to four years.
“I do understand that it is difficult for people which is why we will work with the flood action group to see how we can help to build community resilience.”
Mr Mackenzie also announced that the council was committed to appointing a lead officer to take responsibility for the implementation of a flood alleviation scheme “as soon as we can.”
He added: “We are listening and we will respond. We will take account of everything we have heard .”