Gee dad, guess what, we started the resort says Trump jnr

THERE was not a single placard or protester in sight yesterday as contractors moved on to the Menie Estate to begin the work which environmentalists claim will destroy the "jewel in the crown" of Scotland's shifting sand dune systems.

Opponents of Donald Trump's plan to transform the dunes into the "world's greatest golf course" are, instead, planning to turn to the courts in an effort to block work progressing at the Balmedie site.

But a jubilant Donald Trump jnr, watching work crews arrive on the estate to begin his father's project, dismissed the opponents as "extremists".

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"I don't care that there's none of them here," he said. "They are probably playing in their sandbox right now. It's recess at school and they probably weren't able to get their parents to write them a permission slip to leave."

Mr Trump said it was an "incredible day" for him, his father and the Trump Organisation – but a day he never doubted would come.

It marked the start of a project which would be the "pinnacle" of his father's personal passion for golf, he added.

"We are incredibly thrilled, we are ecstatic to be here and to be able to start ahead of schedule and get this under way," he said.

"It is definitely a relief to be going ahead. But I don't know that there was ever a concern that this would never happen.

"We wanted to get going on this almost this time last year. But, because of our sensitivity towards people's feelings and the environment, we did give it that much more time to work out some of those final issues."

He said the initial work would be confined to clearing up parts of the site of the championship course before preparation work begins for marram grass planting within three weeks. The bulk of the planting will start next March and could take up to six months to complete.

Asked if he had message for the environmentalists who claim the work will result in the destruction of a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Mr Trump said: "We are really trying to do whatever we can to preserve it. This has perhaps been the most environmentally scrutinised project anywhere in Scotland.

"We are trying to do whatever we can to preserve the natural beauty of the site and the natural environmental attributes that are here."

The Trump Organisation hopes the main championship course could be available for play within two years.

But Mr Trump revealed that timescale for the development of the hotel, leisure and luxury home elements of the scheme had still to be determined.

He said: "Once you are talking about a real-estate development, as opposed to a golf course development, a lot of that is going to be market-dependent."

George Sorial, the Trump executive in charge of the project, said every care would be taken during the planting scheme to protect the SSSI site.

But the Scottish Wildlife Trust, one of the main environmental groups which opposed the development, expressed its disappointment at the arrival of work crews at the site.