Plans to create a £3.2million “world-class” family adventure centre in the Highlands and provide new jobs and a massive cash boost to the local economy were unveiled yesterday.
The company behind the award-winning Ice Factor climbing wall in Lochaber already has outline planning permission to develop an indoor and outdoor activity centre at Aviemore.
Ice Factor boss Jamie Smith said many seasonal jobs would be created, as well as nearly 40 full-time posts.
The 38-year-old entrepren-eur – who won the emerging director of the year prize at the Institute of Directors annual awards dinner in Glasgow this week – said the development would also generate an extra 65,000 bed nights and inject £4million a year into the local economy.
Mr Smith said: “Ice Factor Kinlochleven attracts over 138,000 annual visitors, and according to research conducted last year injects over £4million into the fragile Nether Lochaber economy.
“The Aviemore development will have the same core units, with the addition of a 300ft indoor ski slope, an Olympic-sized curling and ice rink, and an indoor and outdoor adrenaline course including a tree-top canopy course.
“The development is based on an ice climbing and glacier centre we saw in New Zealand and is rapid and modular.
“If full planning permission is granted this summer, we aim to have the development up and running in a year.”
He added: “By augmenting a stunning natural environment with a world-class family adventure facility, you are really giving people a reason to go to Aviemore and stay.
“The Cairngorm National Park and the public are all behind us on this.”
A spokeswoman for Aviemore Highland Resort said: “We have met with Jamie Smith and received his proposal which is now under consideration by Aviemore Highland Resort board.
“We don’t envisage any difficulty with it being accommodated within the outline planning detailed in the master plan.”
Local councillor Gregor Rimell said: “I’m sure local people will welcome it with open arms.
“It’s just the sort of investment that we’ve been trying to suggest that Aviemore Highland Resorts should have included in its plans from day one.
“The Kinlochleven operation is well run and very popular so it will be great to have something similar in Aviemore.
“The curlers will be delighted because currently they have to go to Pitlochry or Inverness.
“It’s good for tourism, even better for local people, a big attraction for the area which will bring the resort back to where it was in terms of pulling in tourists when it started in 1966.”
Mr Smith’s company is also to start work on creating Ice Factor USA, a $21million project in Burlington, Vermont.