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Work has started to turn a derelict industrial site into a ‘fantastic’ new hub for visitors to Mid Argyll.
The £1.5 million project will create a heritage and community centre at the former Gleaner Oils site beside the A83 trunk toad through Ardrishaig.
The Scottish Canals-led project will see the transformation and extension of the derelict building known locally as the ‘Egg Shed’ into an interpretation centre telling the story of the canal and the communities on its banks.
From the ancient Gaelic kingdom of Dalriada to the tale of Queen Victoria’s journey on the Crinan Canal, the new centre will display the unique history of Mid Argyll through interactive exhibits and interpretation material.
The revamped Egg Shed project includes space for community activities – from art installations to pop-up exhibitions – and opportunities for social enterprises and community groups.
There are also plans to create new viewpoints and walkways around the building and new access with Ardrishaig centre.
The work, the first phase of the re-development of the Gleaner site, is expected to be complete early next year.
Christopher Breslin, head of regeneration and development at Scottish Canals, said: ‘Over the past few years, we’ve worked with our partners and the local community to develop a shared vision for the future of the Crinan Canal corridor.
‘The re-development of the Egg Shed will help deliver a sustainable future for Ardrishaig, creating a fantastic tourist destination and a vital community resource that will bring jobs and economic benefits to the area. We’re grateful to our funders and the local community for their support and look forward to welcoming them to the new hub in early 2019.’
The project is funded by the Scottish Government, European LEADER money, Scottish Canals, Argyll and Bute Council’s Tarbert and Lochgilphead Regeneration Fund, SUSTRANS, Shanks, the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund and Ardrishaig Community Trust.
Argyll-based contractor TSL won the contract for the project and started work on site this week.
Aileen Morton, policy lead for economic development at Argyll and Bute Council, said: ‘The redevelopment of this site is all about working with the local community to create jobs and boost the local economy and the project was championed by local people. The council has agreed to contribute up to £250,000 as part of our wider work to regenerate Mid Argyll.’