The leader of Dundee City Council has described claims that Camperdown Golf Course was closed to make way for an Eden Project site as “garbage”.
John Alexander told the Tele he had read comments online, but said there was no truth whatsoever in the claims.
“Yes, I can absolutely deny that, it’s garbage, and you can quote me on that,” the Strathmartine councillor said.
“The reality is, the closure of Camperdown Park Golf Course was a really difficult decision, but it was taken on, I think, very legitimate grounds.
“I don’t think the vast majority of people in this city who don’t play golf, first and foremost, could really continue to see us supplementing each round of golf to that degree, when at the same time we were having to make difficult budget decisions on services that matter to the vast majority of people in this city.
“So would we rather be spending more money subsidising a round of golf, for an individual or individuals, or is that resource better funding things that we’ve been talking about today in terms of support for the most vulnerable in our communities?
“Subsequent to that, it’s a very separate conversation that we’re now having with Eden.”
The golf course officially closed on April 6, after a decision was made by the administration in August last year.
Eden, an education and environment charity, has a “global garden” in tropical biomes across a space the size of 30 football pitches in Cornwall – and in 2017 revealed plans to create Edens across the globe.
Now, after months of research, a study is to be launched to find a site in Dundee for Eden Project Scotland.
“And again, Eden’s approach is not to come in and say, ‘We want this site, and this is the blueprint’ and it’s just going to be an Eden Cornwall plonked in whatever site you want to reference – Camperdown Park, Caird Park – that is just not their approach,” Mr Alexander said.
“So, even if we had it in our mind that Camperdown Park might be a good location, Eden might disagree, and that’s the whole point of the feasibility study.
“So, that claim is rubbish and I’ve seen it myself a number of times, but people will continue to, I’m sure, draw their own conclusions to why that decision was made.
“But I can absolutely give you a guarantee the decision was based upon the finances and the reality of needing to support other ventures and other services in the council.”
He added: “Now, they might want to look at post-industrial land, they might want to look at sites that are currently up for industrial use, there have been other projects that have looked at the connection to water, so maybe there’s something related to the river, or the Dighty, or whatever it may well be – or maybe it’s the kind of green space that you mention.
“We’ve got lots of different parks in the city, perhaps there’s one that fits the model.
“But we haven’t set anything out in stone at the present time because it has to be guided by what they want out of the project, what we want for the communities of Dundee out of that project, and that’s what the feasibility study will do.
“So, by November, we should have a clearer indication of what the site options are, and what the preferred site option would be.”