Arbroath volunteers have resigned en masse in a protest over the go ahead for Scouts to kayak on the town’s once popular boating pond.
Keptie Friends has worked since 2015 to transform the one-time attraction into a wildlife haven.
But they were enraged by an Angus Council decision to let Arbroath Scouts kayak there.
They say the water contains ecoli and faeces which could be dangerous to the youngsters.
The council say nothing can be done to stop the Scouts kayaking as long as they meet the strict rules for use of the pond.
The kayaking row came almost two years after repeated vandalism and arguments over kayaking and paddleboarding left the group in tatters.
The council drew up new management rules for Angus open spaces like the pond and country parks in 2022.
The Scouts – whose base is opposite the pond – then made a request to use it for occasional kayaking sessions.
It was granted and the council said it hoped a compromise could be reached.
But the Friends made a formal complaint against the council decision.
They said it would damage the biodiversity of the area and pose a risk to wildlife.
And the group commissioned an expert analysis of the pond water which they say proves the Scouts face a health risk if they use it.
The study revealed traces of ecoli and faeces.
No option but to disband
Friends chairman Scott Shortridge said: “Independent specialists have reviewed the analysis and advised that if the water was ingested it would cause serious illness.
“Even with these results Angus Council have permitted the scouts to allow children to kayak in the pond.
“Sadly due to decisions taken by Angus Council, which Keptie Friends cannot support or condone, we have decided to disband.
“Our volunteers have worked hard over eight years to improve the area for everyone to enjoy, including litter picking every day.
“We successfully removed the blue-green algae and created a biodiverse thriving safe haven for wildlife, when Angus Council didn’t have the resources to do so.
“The management and maintenance of Keptie Pond will be handed over to Angus Council.”
Lights on the pond’s island won’t be switched on this year.
Council ‘deeply disappointed’
A council spokesperson said: “We are deeply disappointed that Keptie Friends has taken the decision to disband.
“As the Keptie Friends group knows, Angus Council has no legal grounds to prevent Scouts UK from using the pond provided they comply with very strict conditions we have set them for access in light of the exemplary work Keptie Friends have done to attract significant wildlife to the pond.
“We hope in time, that the Scouts will consider the use of other facilities and that the Keptie Friends will return to this beautiful area they have improved so much.
“Until such time, we will be undertaking the management of the pond and look forward to hearing from other volunteers who may wish to come forward.”
Arbroath Scouts have been asked for comment.