A Christmas Message from the Aberdeenshire Provost

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The Provost of Aberdeenshire has stressed the importance of using the success of the Olympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games to encourage and support young people to discover their own sporting potential.

The remarks came in Councillor Jill Webster’s festive message as she reflected on her first seven months as Provost and looked ahead to the next

12 months.

In the message, which can be viewed on Aberdeenshire Council’s website, the Provost also reflects on what the council is doing to support businesses, the opening of new council housing and various infrastructure projects that are planned in the coming years.

Looking to 2013, the Provost said she intends to use her position to promote Aberdeenshire as a great place – to live, for business and for leisure – in order to attract more inward investment.

Provost Webster said: “With the end of 2012 fast approaching, it is time to reflect on what has been a momentous year for Aberdeenshire and for the country. 2012 is a year that we can look back and be proud of, as a council, a community and a nation.

“The May elections saw big changes in the make-up of Aberdeenshire Council’s political framework, and also big changes for me as I took up the post of Aberdeenshire Provost.

“In the seven months since stepping into the role, I have already had the honour of representing Aberdeenshire at a host of civic and community events.

“One of the highlights of this year was having the chance to celebrate the success of our local athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

“The Games captured our imaginations and kept us glued to our television screens throughout the summer. I don’t think anybody could have imagined the success that would be celebrated by Team GB in almost all elements of the games, a significant number of whom hail from the north-east of Scotland.

“It was truly heart-warming to see the thousands of people who turned out to cheer on athletes Katherine Grainger, Tim Bailley, Neil Fachie, Hannah Miley, Robbie Renwick and Lora Turnham on their journey through Aberdeen City and Shire. The host of others who could not make it, including Luke Patience, David Florence and David Carry were also honoured.

“And of course we cannot forget the contribution of thousands of Torchbearers and volunteers who helped to make the Games the overwhelming success that it was.

“I was delighted to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay to Balmoral Castle as part of its tour of Aberdeenshire. This was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the area to the world and it was wonderful to see so many schools and communities getting involved. We are sure this community spirit will carry forward to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, and work begins to continue the legacy created this year in encouraging and supporting our youngsters to discover their own sporting potential.

“The Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen has been another cause for major celebration this year and one which saw the people of Aberdeenshire join forces and hold a huge number of events. Away from the celebrations for a moment, this council, in line with all others across the country, continues to face challenging times ahead.

“We continue to support business across Aberdeenshire and push forward with our Economic Development Strategy, focusing on the priority industries of energy, food and drink, tourism, agriculture and fisheries.

“The council continues to push forward with major infrastructure projects to ensure we are providing state-of-the-art facilities for our residents.

“This year I attended the cutting of the sod ceremony for the new Mearns Academy in Laurencekirk, a community campus which will bring much to the pupils of the Mearns and the wider community.

“I was delighted to open 37 new council homes in Banff, the first in the town for nearly a decade. I also opened some affordable homes in Inverurie, built in partnership with local developer Bancon Homes.

“I look forward to the opening of Fraserburgh’s new sports and community centre early next year – a long awaited project which will bring many benefits to the town. As much as there is to celebrate in 2012, there is also a lot to look

forward to in the year ahead. Major developments on the horizon include the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the development of the Energetica corridor – the global technology corridor from Aberdeen to Peterhead.

These two projects will help unlock Aberdeenshire’s full potential.

“We can also expect to see Westhill continue to develop as a dynamic, global centre of subsea excellence, a status which was formally recognised this year.

“I am keen to further promote Aberdeenshire in the coming year, as a great place to live, for business and for leisure. From mountain to sea, the very best in Scotland.

“I hope you have a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.”