Blackdog is a community currently surrounded on all sides by temporary or permanent ‘bad neighbour’ activities.  Everything to the north is a building site for new housing.  Constant dust and noise.  To the south is the construction of the major electricity sub station for the Aberdeen Bay wind turbines’ power coming ashore.  To the immediate east, before you descend to the beach, there is the toxic problem of Blackdog landfill site gradually leaking oils and chemicals onto the beach where there are signs saying to be cautious about your dog because of the pollution.  No mention of humans.  (Blackdog is a community blighted by 11 former landfill sites around it.)  Finally, of course, immediately to the west lies the construction work for the major road junction on the A90 with the AWPR.

In the midst of this there is local resilience.  As I passed 2 members of the local community association were busily doing their volunteer work transforming scrub land into a park. Lush grass was replacing a desolate field of scrub and weeds from 2 years ago.

What struck me most was a sign of defiance against the cacophony of noise, traffic and dust. There was a bit of what only could be described as Guerrilla Gardening.  It was the ‘take over’ of the road verge (the property of the Council) opposite the small row of former council properties along Hareburn Terrace where the construction traffic passed relentlessly. It was previously just un unkempt run of grass next to the road.

The neat planting of flowers and shrubs has been lovingly done to claim that ‘people live here’.  This is not a project site, construction yard or road work….  It’s home to the residents of around 70 houses.

It has the prospect of having 550 more neighbours and being next to one of the busiest roads in the north east.  But this community is beginning to find its place in the world.  It starts with a few flowers and plants, it grows with volunteers and a small park.

If it is helped by a an Aberdeenshire council that cares for its communities then it will flourish.

Let’s work for that.

Aberdeenshire needs more of this sense of community spirit.  Defiance of just accepting what is dished out by the powers that be.  A sense of enterprise.  A feeling that there is a future that can be achieved.

The stirring of awakenings in this community of Blackdog should be in every community.  Every community should be looking for what it can do, as there seems to be fewer politicians looking to help them.

I know there are other progressive politicians on Aberdeenshire other than myself as a democratic independent councillor, or Martin, my Green colleague.  Our challenge will be to see who can step up to the plate to support our communities achieve their ambitions against the odds.

The election for Aberdeenshire Council is not about the national issues.  It’s not about squabbling over taxes or Brexit or ‘indy Ref’ or Nats and Unionsits.

It’s really about our guerrilla gardeners.  Our community volunteers.  Our ambitious communities. It’s about all of the things that will make Aberdeenshire a better place.


This will tell you about Guerrilla gardening:

(Thank you Edna and Phil)

About Paul

Works in the community View all posts by Paul

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