By Bill Heaney

In January, The Democrat told readers exclusively that Clydeside had been overlooked by the Conservative and SNP governments and that sites at Cromarty Firth and the Forth had been selected to host Scotland’s first green freeports

Additionally, we forecast that there would be major money problems for West Dunbartonshire Council if they were pinning their hopes on the Exxon Bowling site, into which they have already injudicially sunk £6 million of public money in an effort to pull themselves out of an economic black hole.

Unfortunately, there is more bad news for the council in the pipeline today.

The amount of money West Dunbartonshire Council has been persuaded to pour into cleaning up the polluted land, which was formerly an Esso tank farm for more than 50 years, is eye-watering.

And it is increasing by £ millions by the day and the month as interest rates soar on the world money markets in these toughest of economic times, when inflation has touched 20 per cent and rising.

Local families are having to use food banks and borrow cash from unlicensed money lenders to feed and clothe their children, while councillors are scattering public money around like a Friday night drunk on the tear.

Dumbarton has a Scottish index of multiple deprivation data zone that is in the bottom two per cent of Scotland.

The pastor of an evangelical church is offering free haircuts, free hot breakfasts and space for leisure time for adults who haven’t got the price of a day out in Glasgow never mind a holiday.

We are told that when supermarket giants LIDL decided not to borrow the cash to build a new store in Alexandria the now Labour council offered to loan them the money at mate’s rates.

That is the Council led by Cllr Martin Rooney, who appears to have his own money tree in the Vale, which is not the one that is/was growing out of the refurbished Fountain, another waste of public money.

Now, the supposedly skint Labour council, which has been pleading poverty – apart from when they are spending money on civic receptions  and vanity projects – is about to have to come up with more cash, which will not go to poor people here, but to one of the wealthiest companies in the world.

This gives a whole new meaning to philanthropy.

The council’s £500,000 a year spin doctoring team will have their work cut out trying to make this look  like money well spent.

They have already embarked on a sleekit course of putting  this matter on the agenda of a meeting taking place before the summer break in the hope that the electorate (citizens) will have forgotten all about it come the autumn.

So, what does Cllr Bollan think now that his prediction has come true?

He said: “The Labour Council are in the pocket of big businesses like Exxon at Bowling.

“They can no longer claim to represent ordinary people, the working class here.

“A project that started at £27 million has now increased to £44 million, which is a 60% increase before a brick is laid.

“Meanwhile, this Labour council applied savage cuts of £21 million to many Council services, along with 250 jobs axed on March 1, 2023.
“The Labour Party have been likened to ‘Diet Tory’. This shameful decision shows they remain in the pockets of big business, while local children and senior citizens have services cut.”
And what does West Dunbartonshire Council have to say about this bourach beyond all bourachs?
We don’t know because the snowflakes in charge of it won’t speak to us.

Dystopian Alexandria Town Centre. The Council may have a plan but who’s got the money? Top of page picture: The site of the former Exxon tank farm on Clydeside at Bowling.

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