A contractor could be appointed early next year to deliver a multi-million-pound revamp of Union Terrace Gardens.
Aberdeen City Council is searching for a firm to transform the sunken city centre park, amid concerns that the targeted completion date of 2020 may be missed.
The local authority is still in negotiations with its preferred bidder with expectations the contractor will be announced early in the new year.
Opposition leaders have demanded answers over delays to the project with SNP group leader Stephen Flynn branding the project as another example of a “wasteful administration in action”.
He added: “Councillors, and the public, were first told that Union Terrace Gardens would be finished in July 2019. While I’m no construction expert, I think I’m on fairly solid ground to state that simply will not happen. The reality is that when the administration first brought this proposal forward in 2017 we were entirely right to call for additional scrutiny through the creation of a project board.
“It’s clear that 2018 has come and gone and we will still have no idea when Union Terrace Gardens will be redeveloped and at what cost to the people of Aberdeen – another shining example of this wasteful administration in action.”
24 Days of Christmas – Click here for special festive deals from some of our favourite local businesses
The project – initially priced at £22 million – was planned to be completed by next July, but that was put back to summer 2020.
Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “Everyone is aware that planning permission was not granted until earlier this year and since then we are going through a tendering process to ensure we receive best value for the people of Aberdeen. It must be remembered that when the SNP was in power the only thing they delivered was school closures and savage cuts to public services.”
LDA Design unveiled their designs for the park in 2016, which include water features, a golden “halo” suspended above the central grass area, shops and cafes in the arches and community gardens.
A council spokesman said: “The council hopes to be in a position to make an announcement in early 2019.”