ABERDEEN’S Liberal Democrat councillors have urged the SNP group on the council to join them in approaching Sir Ian Wood about his latest offer of a £50 million donation towards a transformational project in the city.
The oil tycoon announced last week that he will keep his offer of a £50 million donation on the table until the end of the year - provided Aberdeen City Council comes up with a new project to transform the heart of the city by the end of the year.
In August last year, the billionaire businessman announced he had formally withdrawn the massive donation - first offered almost five years ago to help bankroll a controversial £140m scheme to transform Union Terrace Gardens - after the divisive scheme had been scuppered by the Labour-led coalition administration.
The rainbow coalition administration of Labour, Tory and Independents councillors have already said they will reveal details of their own proposals for the transformation of the city centre in October.
But Councillor Ian Yuill, the leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, is now suggesting a joint approach by opposition councillors to the billionaire businessman.
He states in a letter to Councillor Callum McCaig, the leader of the SNP Group, “We believe the Labour Party is at serious fault in declining to discuss this issue with Sir Ian Wood as a matter of urgency. Given Labour’s dereliction of leadership we believe it is now imperative to engage with Sir Ian without delay.
“I ask the SNP Group to make a joint approach with the Liberal Democrat Group to invite Sir Ian Wood to discuss with us what options might be open to take forward his offer of £50 million towards a transformational project in Aberdeen.
“Our view is that discussions with Sir Ian and his colleagues should be forward-looking, pragmatic and seek to identify common ground.”
Councillor Yuill said: “Sir Ian has made a hugely generous offer. The least the city council should do is discuss that with him. Sadly Aberdeen’s Labour Party has failed to meet this challenge. Given Labour’s dereliction of leadership the Liberal Democrats are keen to discuss things with Sir Ian and we very much hope the SNP will join us in this.”