Trump Golf Resort Delayed: Birdies Have The McDonald Bogeyed

Scotland may be the home of golf and bagpipes, but a protracted battle to stop Donald Trump’s $2 billion dollar golf resort has proved that the nation’s love of golf and old wind-bags is not unconditional. Trump argued yesterday for the resort in northeastern Scotland, on a stretch of shifting sand dunes on the coast 12 miles north of Aberdeen.

Trump has had quite a few snags in the last year. This latest bout of fiscal fisty-cuffs has been raging for some time, and as always Trump is reluctant to admit defeat. It may not just be bull-headed pride, though, as he claims that the project was inspired by his mother’s own Scottish heritage.

But tartan touting has not helped The McDonald in his fight, and resistance from environmentalists and residents—including a landowner who refuses to sell his family farm—has Trump’s kilt in a twist. The stretch is home to several species rare to the island, including cute, little otters and cutely-named kittiwakes (second only to titmice, in my book) and a golf course might spell doom for their populations. Badgers are also known to have their dens there—distant relatives of his, I imagine.

His rebuttals to concerns regarding the resort’s environmental impact are sub-par. From a USA Today article:

"People won't play a course if it is environmentally harmful," Trump said. "They don't like it, they don't feel good about it and they won't play it."

The United Nations Foundation may say otherwise given their address of the rising popularity of the sport worldwide and the concerns of environmentalists , but Trump has his own experts...and...

“Under cross-examination by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Trump drew snickers from the audience when he said he knew more about the environment than his consultants did. He acknowledged he had not read environmental reports that he commissioned.

"‘I would consider myself an environmentalist in the true sense of the word,’ Trump said.”

The panel, it would seem, rightly sees this as the steaming pile of haggis that it is. Though Trump remains optimistic, the best he can hope for is a scaled-down version...but he would never settle for anything but the best. Methinks the kittiwakes are safe for now.

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September 29, 2008 at 8:40 PM Sean Calcagnie said...

I would like to thank you for your post and I enjoyed reading your comments about the environmental issues raised by Donald Trump’s proposed resort. First let me say I appreciate your concerns and that I agree with you that Mr. Trump’s statement about people not wanting to play on a course that is environmentally harmful is a pretty weak argument. But your post leaves the impression that this is his only argument. The actual extent of the project’s effect on the environment is the subject of much debate. There are methods of minimizing the impact of the development upon the environment, including preserving species by “translocating” them to similar locales where they can thrive as they do in the affected area. I do agree with you that the project may ultimately end up being scaled down. The major controversy appears to be that the project will affect what has been called “one of the few remaining mobile dune systems in Britain.” Opponents of the project want the project to be scaled back to eliminate the nine holes proposed for the dunes. However, according to Trump’s project director, "What we're talking about doing is simply planting grass, which would stop this highly mobile sand from traveling northerly, where it has essentially been gobbling up farmland like a giant sand slug," I am curious as to what you think about the merits of his argument in this regard. Also, one aspect of the issue that you do not mention is the question of the positive effects of the proposed development on the economy and the people of Scotland. This billion dollar project is not just about courses according to the Seattle Times, the project calls for two championship golf courses, and a 450-room hotel, in addition to 500 villas and 1,000 vacation homes. It is estimated that this will add an additional $400 million immediately into the local economy and up to $100 million a year thereafter. There are many local residents who believe that Scotland may not see another opportunity like this in the near future. Do you believe trade-offs such as this type of economic benefit merit consideration in weighing the merits of a proposed development of this magnitude?

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