Community leaders in Stonehaven have warned there must be no further delays to the town’s flood defences.
Aberdeenshire Council revealed last week the start date for the long-awaited £16 million scheme had been pushed back to the end of the year due to a flurry of tender bids.
It had been hoped to begin the major flood protection project in the summer.
The council is being urged to ensure there are no more hold-ups and that the project is completed within the next two years.
Stonehaven and District Community Council chairman Phil Mills-Bishop told the Leader: “The Stonehaven Flood Alleviation Scheme is of great importance to the Stonehaven community as the trauma of extensive flooding just a few years ago is still in the collective mind.
“The community council have supported the Stonehaven Flood Action Group who have done much to secure the present alleviation scheme with Aberdeenshire Council. Any delay, however justified, will raise anxieties.
He added: “The delay at this stage of the tendering process will have a accumulative time impact as and when the preferred contractor is announced along with any potential legal challenges from the other contractors.
“While “getting it right” is vital, discussions in terms of getting it right have been ongoing since 2012.
“The community wants to see this Flood Alleviation Scheme started as soon as possible with no further delays and completed within the next two years.”
Local councillor Sarah Dickinson said choosing the right contractor was essential.
She added: “The residents, services, and businesses in Stonehaven that have been affected by the flooding of the Carron River in the past need the reassurance the Stonehaven Flood Protection Scheme will bring that they will be as protected as possible from flood risk in the future.
“The sooner the work can begin on the scheme and, therefore, the project as a whole be completed the better.
“However, this is a major project and it is vital that Aberdeenshire Council gets its delivery right.”
The authority said last week that more companies than expected had tendered for the work.
A shortlist of potential contractors has been drawn up.
The council hopes that a preferred bidder will be chosen by the autumn and work can start on the ground later in the year.