OIL tycoon Sir Ian Wood has called on civic and business leaders in Aberdeen to throw off a “parochial cloak and lack of vision” to secure the long-term prosperity of Europe’s oil capital.
And, in a speech after receiving a lifetime achievement award from Oil and Gas UK, he bluntly warned that the industry had to work hard to ensure it avoided the “nightmare legacy scenario” of a “here today, gone tomorrow” industrial heritage.
Sir Ian, who recently retired as chairman of Aberdeen-based oil services giant the Wood Group, announced two months ago that he had formally withdrawn the £50 million gift he was prepared to invest in the transformation of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens after Aberdeen City councillors refused to back the £140m scheme.
But, in his speech at the award ceremony, Sir Ian called on city leaders to think again about their decision to reject the transformational plans.
He said: “A very large percentage of the business community in Aberdeen, and the majority of citizens, believe the Aberdeen City Centre Regeneration Project is an essential part of the transformational change we require and hopefully the council will rethink this within the next few months, before it’s too late.
“Our aspiration must be to be a World Energy City. That means making our city attractive and competitive in every respect.
“We’re a very enterprising city with a lot of technology, with two very fine complementary universities, a beautiful hinterland and a lot going for us, but our local government institutions and public sector leaders must throw off the parochial cloak and lack of vision, and be prepared to invest in ambitious plans and developments.”