Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Donald Comes to Scotia

Menie Dunes, Balmedie

Donald Trump was born of Scottish blood (his mother is from the Isle of Lewis), and wouldn't you know it, he has purchased a swath of beachfront property a few miles north of Aberdeen, the Menie Dunes of Balmedie, intending to erect a golf resort which will hopefully tap into that booming industry of which 65% is generated by American tourists. Every fiber in my body revolts even though I know this will bring economic boom and prosperity to the region. I think it's caused by vivid memories of the garish Atlantic City lights in my native Jersey. In all fairness, I know that Trump International Golf Links Scotland will be done more tastefully, but still. His brashness, arrogance, and that hair!

Not surprisingly, Trump's proposed golf course has come with its own fair share of controversy. You can read all about it in this Vanity Fair article from their May issue, which delineates the obstacles from first acquiring to then developing the site. A single holdout, Michael Forbes, has staged a David and Goliath standoff flatly refusing to sell his bit of land and asking the Trump people and curious media just to leave him alone. Even working around Forbes's property, Trump still faces an uphill battle as the site is classified SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), a UK designation for an ecologically protected area. The environmental agency, Scottish Wildlife Trust, has opposed Trump's plans at every turn citing the irreparable impact development will have on the broader eco system. Trump has overwhelming local support, however, and so the inquiry to be conducted by the cash-strapped Aberdeen City Council (more on that in a future blog) scheduled for June 10th seems merely a formality. In all likelihood, Trump will get to build his resort with some concessions to the SWT. Surely for the £1 billion proposed, they can figure something out. The latest buzz, just out today, is that Trump himself is required to appear and give evidence before the Council. What's next? "The Apprentice: Aberdeen Edition"?

In the meantime, I just chuckle to myself at the thought of the haar rolling in during the middle of summer at the height of tourist season, confused golfers searching in vain for their balls and tees, Trump learning the hard way that some things aren't controlled by money, like Scottish weather.

1 comment:

charlotte carroll said...

all of the Americans will run screaming ...thinking that they're in the movies...the Mist or the Fog in which people are brutally murdered by ghosts or aliens in a thick Haar-like precipitation. hilarious!