A huge canopy could be installed over the High Street of the rainiest town in the north.
The covering has been proposed for Cameron Square in Fort William amid fears that regular downpours were damaging the tourist industry.
The Lochaber town has long had a reputation for being one of the wettest in Britain, and it is hoped that the new shelter will enable more events to be staged in the heart of the community.
The £95,000 plans triggered calls last night for a sheltered walkway to be erected across the entire length of the pedestrianised section of the historic High Street.
The canopy proposal is being brought forward by Fort William Town Team, and the Fort William Marina and Shoreline Company.
A planning application for the scheme has been lodged with Highland Council.
Sarah Kennedy, who is involved with both groups, said: “We had a cruise ship visit and we had to put up a temporary gazebo because it rained and it’s just not a very good advertisement for the town.
“With the gazebo up we were able to have country dancers and singers to entertain our guests.
“Highland Council charge £500 for the use of that square and people can’t guarantee what the weather is going to be like. There will be more events on there if there is a cover.
“When the annual Christmas event is on we will be able to do so many more things.”
The town team is applying for funding to pay for the covering.
Local councillor Bill Clark said: “I would like to know more about it from the planning department. I’m not against it. I have seen quite a few of them before and it could be just what we need.”
However, Eric Wallace, owner of Eric H Wallace gift and souvenir shop, next to the square, said: “My personal view is that it would be better spending the money putting a covered walkway along the length of the pedestrianised section of the High Street.
“That would be more beneficial to everyone, locals and tourists alike. Then they could walk along the street on a wet day and not worry too much about getting soaked.
“At Cameron Square it would only benefit the minority when there was something on.”
Jackie Wright, chairwoman of the management committee of West Highland Museum in Cameron Square, said: “We are very pleased with what the town team has done and everything they have achieved and the investment which has gone in to Cameron Square has been excellent.
“We carry out regular surveys of our visitors. We have just under 50,000 every year and more than 40% of people just find us. Not through marketing or leaflets, they just find us.
“From what we have seen of the initial designs we do have a bit of concern that we wouldn’t be quite as visible as we are just now. We would want to have some discussion about the final design to ensure that we don’t lose any visibility.
“The museum relies almost completely on donations and shop sales, we risk that at our peril.
“If this concern can be overcome then of course we can see a benefit to having some sort of cover over Cameron Square.”
The proposed canopy is approximately 62ft long by 32ft wide and 20ft high, and the arches would reduce to 16ft high at the sides.