With the holiday period feeling like a distant memory, the focus is firmly fixed on the programme for the weeks, months and year ahead.
The Council enjoyed a very productive 2016 and that trend has continued in the New Year, with a busy start to January which will undoubtedly be a sign of things to come.
On 10 January we had the honour of performing the market open ceremony at the London Stock Exchange, having been invited to lead the event by the LSE in recognition of the success of the £370million bond issue in November.
We took the opportunity to thank the team who steered the project – both our own dedicated and talented Aberdeen City Council staff as well as external advisers – and it provided a tremendous platform to promote our ambitions to a new audience at the heart of the City of London.
The bond issue demonstrated investor confidence in Aberdeen City Council’s economic strategy and vision for the future and it is important that message is spread far and wide.
On the back of the oil and gas downturn, international eyes have been on Aberdeen and understandably negative perceptions have surfaced. Whilst there have been huge challenges, it is vital that the positive strides being taken are promoted and the outside world gets sight of the good work being done.
Closer to home, I was delighted to officially open Aberdeen’s largest new community facility when the ribbon was cut at The Hub on 11 January. It is the result of the redevelopment of the site of what was originally the Lord Provost Henry E Rae Community Centre in Middlefield this month.
After a multi-million pound investment, groups in the area will have a superb base from which to offer expanded support to people of all ages.
It will be a huge boost for the area and it is satisfying to see the doors open and another piece of the jigsaw for this part of the city fall into place. There are 179 new council houses being built at Manor Walk and Smithfield whilst everything from play park upgrades to the launch of the Aberdeen Treasure Hub will contribute to bringing a fresh lease of life to the community.
Nearby, the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre site is a hive of activity and the scale of the plans can be seen.
In the city centre, the Marischal Square and Aberdeen Art Gallery developments are continuing at pace and excitement is building as the work progresses – another sign of the impact the City Centre Masterplan will make this year and for decades to come.
The ball is well and truly rolling for 2017 and I look forward to sharing updates with you as the many projects currently underway continue to take shape.