The SNP’s group leader said he has been left “stunned” after councillors narrowly voted against recovering costs from the owner of a wall at the centre of a repair bill row.
Former finance convener Willie Young was in the spotlight earlier this month after it emerged public money had been given to fix a wall believed to be on his land at Wellington Brae, without going before committee for approval.
The local authority suspended the project and launched an investigation when it emerged they had approached him for permission to start construction.
It later emerged the land belongs to his father David Young after it was sold to him by his son, former councillor Young, in 1992.
Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Delaney brought forward an amendment to instruct officers to recover costs from the owner of a wall involved in the repairs for which he is liable.
But councillors voted nine to eight to accept up to £250,000 from Sustrans Scotland and continue with the repairs to the wall and voted the amendment down.
A report considered by councillors said Wellington Brae suffered damage during a storm in February 2016. It said a combination of the trees being planted close to the path’s retaining wall and the weather resulted in tree roots bursting through the Victorian dyke wall and leading to its partial collapse in one area.
SNP group leader Stephen Flynn, who supported the amendment, said: “I’ve once again been left stunned by what we have seen in the Town House – Labour and Conservative Councillors, along with Cllr Jennifer Stewart, have stated that we should not seek to recover costs from the land owner for any damage for which they are liable in relation to Wellington Brae.
“Although the costs are being borne by Sustrans, this remains public money which this council is administering and, with that in mind, we should be doing everything we possibly can to protect the public pound.
“It would certainly be my hope that there are no ulterior motives at play here – we have a steadfast duty to stand up for public money.”
Cllr Delaney told councillors it was not his “intention” to embarrass anyone in bringing forward his motion.
He added: “I’m just looking for good governance.
“The reasoning for this is fairly straightforward.
“All I’m suggesting is that if there is a liability, that we seek to recover that.”
But Labour councillor and committee convener Yvonne Allan said: “We need to get on with this and I’m sure things will be investigated in due course.”
The local authority admitted the project was not presented for committee approval at any stage in the process, which they said was a “serious failing by council officers”.
An urgent review was launched in the wake of the row.
This formal investigation is underway, the outcome of which will be the subject of a separate report to the audit and risk committee in September 2017.
Willie Young could not be reached for comment after being contacted by the Evening Express.