Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Balmedie Beach

When my daughter and I were in Aberdeen, Scotland visiting friends, our hosts took us on a tour of a remote area of Scotland along the North Sea. The area was called Balmedie Beach, and it is as remote and wild as anything you will see along the coast of British Columbia. Balmedie Beach is particularly famous for its magnificant sand dunes, which stretch along the beach for 15 miles. It is the fifth largest sand dune system in the British Isles, and is of special scientific interest, in addition to its exquisite beauty. We stopped to have tea and sticky toffee pudding at a wonderful little inn overlooking the beach, and I was gobsmacked by the beauty of the place.

Close to the beach is a property called Menie House, a 14th century country property surrounded by over 200 acres (0.81 km2) of private land, collectively known as the Menie Estate. Donald Trump purchased a large part of the estate in 2006. And wouldn’t you know it, what does he plan to build there? Of course, two 18-hole gold courses, a 450-room hotel, conference centre and spa, 36 golf villas, 950 holiday homes, accommodation for 400 staff and residential developments comprising 500 houses. Although this would substantially damage native sand dune habitat at a Site of Special Scientific Interest, according to analysis by Scottish Natural Heritage, planning officials from Aberdeenshire Council have recommended approval of the development.

The "great vistas and majestic dunes" had a "magical quality", Trump gushed earlier this year. With a neat twist of logic, he declared his course would "save" the dunes by arresting their movement, fixing them rigid with artificially planted grasses.

Environmental experts - including his own - disagree. His plans to place the back nine holes of his main 18-hole course here would decimate the links, designated a site of special scientific interest for four types of dune habitat: shifting dunes, fixed or grey dunes, decalcified fixed dunes and humid dune slacks, or hollows. They are home to what Trump's own expert described as an "excellent mosaic" of lichen-rich grasses, dune willow, sand sedge, common bent-grass and sheep's fescue, with soft rush, sweet grass and creeping bent-grass in the swampier areas.

In turn, the habitat supports wildlife such as skylarks, otters, pipistrelle bats, badgers and toads. The dunes are also periodic nesting sites for migratory pink-footed geese using the Ythan estuary, Sands of Forvie and Meikle Loch 3km to the north.

Yet despite its stark beauty, locals remain unconvinced that Trump can build a millionaires' paradise there. It is, after all, on the same latitude as southern Alaska. As Michael Forbes, the local salmon fisherman who refuses to sell Trump his unsightly 23-acre plot right next to the proposed course, put it on Monday after the news was announced: "Who in their right mind is going to come to this cold place and play golf? They'll come once and they'll never be back again."


... Guardian.Co.Uk

It is said there is a ghost at Menie House, known as "the Green Lady". I hope she haunts Donald Trump and scares him the h*ll off the property. There are places on this earth that are meant to be left alone, and the wild coast of Scotland is one of them.

18 comments:

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

There is a serious anti-Yuppie movement hatching in east-end Toronto, largely against the Starbucks set.

But this is big bucks.

Deb said...

Personally, I don't think Trump should inflict his "vision" on other countries. Sadly, we have to deal with his buildings all over the US with his overbearing name towering over us all.

Deb said...

and I meant to ad...when is enough enough?

Country Girl said...

You can't stop dunes from moving. Who does Trump think he is?

willow said...

Oh, pah-leez!!! Who does Trump think he is, anyway?! I hope the Green Lady scares the bejesus out of him.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Bravo! My sentiments exactly. My bets are on the Green Lady!!

leslie said...

As Ivan mentions, it's big bucks! I don't think it'd hurt to promote the area and to drum up the economy for the residents somehow, but there must be a balance to maintain the natural environment. I guess the people there were for it because they'd have to vote on it through their local government. And you know those Scots! They're mighty hardy and will play golf in squalls! lol

Dr.John said...

I would like to see Trump stopped but I doubt it will happen.

Donnetta Lee said...

I just want some sticky toffee pudding. D

Russell said...

I have never liked golf. In fact I pretty much detest it.

Hearing that Trump is doing this to such a beautiful area only adds to my distaste for golf...

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I shake my head. What goes through the mind of someone like Trump? "Ah, this place is so beautiful.....I can't wait to make it look like some other golf course that I own!"

RiverPoet said...

Trump has never cared about anything or anyone but his bottom line. I've never heard of a greedier more money-grubbing man. I imagine Dickens' Scrooge was modeled on someone like Trump.

Of course he's going to put something tacky in a beautiful location. Have you seen footage or pictures of his golden home interiors? The gaudiest, tackiest thing ever...

Peace - D

Firefly said...

In Trumps case it probably is a case of "Money talks".

We have an area just outside town where which is lovely bush and forest with the biggest dune around. I hear now that there is plans to develop some hotel and resort there. The community seems to be against it so lets hope it doesn't happen either.

Jo said...

Ivan, well, you should see those dunes. They need to be left untouched.

Deb, oh, yes, I have seen a few Trump buildings. *sigh*

CountryGirl, he is going to ruin that place for future generations. It makes me sick!

Willow, yes, I hope the Green Lady scares the toupee right off his head. :-)

Pamela, yes! Maybe she will put such fear into him, he'll stay in New York. One can only hope.

Leslie, the people there voted against it, but I think someone in the planning department got (*cough*) paid off... sigh.

Dr. John, I think Trump is unstoppable, unfortunately.

Donnetta, oh yes. It's wonderful!

Russell, yes, just what the world needs is two more golf courses, right? Argh!

LGS, all people like Trump think about is $$$$. And the place is exquisitely beautiful without yet another hotel.

RiverPoet, I have seen pictures of his homes, with the gold everywhere, and the murals on the ceilings, and everything that is the epitome of bad taste. Yuck!

Firefly, oh, no!!!! Omigosh, what is the matter with these people? Can't they leave the natural beauty of these places alone? Sigh...

Anonymous said...

Its an appalling decision. I used to live in Aberdeen and walk there regularly, Its a breathtaking place to be in with nothing but the wond, the sea and the birds. The Scottish National Party should be truely ashamed of themselves for cow-towing to Trump. Words (almost!) fail me.

Alistair

Jo said...

Alistair, I hope somehow the project gets stopped. It can't be allowed to happen. You're right, it's appalling.

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