Dozens of jobs are to be created in Lochaber as plans for an elaborate zip-wire attraction is unveiled.
The sky-high attraction will be located on the banks of Loch Leven at Kinlochleven on land owned and leased by Jahama Highland Estates – offering views of the Mamore hills and beyond.
The attraction – estimated to cost in the region of £3.5 million to construct – will consist of two zip lines, launch and landing platforms on each side of the loch and a container-style reception building, as well as two floating jetties to facilitate the customers transfer.
The longest of the two zip-wires on offer will span approximately 1,619 yards – becoming the longest of its kind in Scotland- alongside the shorter of the two at 1,148 yards.
The venture is estimated to generate up to 50 jobs for the local community, with 35 full-time jobs as well as 10 to 15 seasonal positions.
Stephen Connelly, project leader and mastermind behind the development, said he brought it forward as a way to sustain income and employment opportunities for the village.
He said: “The large part of wanting to push this through was obviously I became aware once I moved into the village that there weren’t an awful lot of jobs around here to keep young people in the village. One of the key drivers to do it was it bring relatively descent paid jobs to the area.
“We want to help support the village as well so we always set ourselves up as being in a partnership with Kinlochleven. We are looking at donating part of the turnover to the village so that we can help support all the charities and the organisations. We never saw ourselves as a company set up separate from the village; we are a company that’s part of the village.”
A full planning application showing artist impressions has now been lodged in Highland Council’s planning system.
Plans have also been outlined to convert the village’s former smelter site – which closed in 2000 – into a visitors car park alongside a welcome cabin in an effort to create greater footfall and business for local retailers.
Developers are currently in the throws of looking for private investors to help meet the costs of the elaborate venture.
Meanwhile, community representatives have since outlined their support for the attraction and the boost it will bring to the local economy.
Fraser Coupland, chief executive of Lochaber Chamber of Commerce said: “I think it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s another visitor attraction for the local area and further reinforces the destination as the adventure capital of the UK.”
Marion Smith, development officer for Kinlochleven Community Trust said: “The board of the trust has discussed it and had a meeting with the people putting it forward and we are very happy to support it. I think it will bring economic value and create a number of jobs which is always good for any area. I have been assured it is local jobs or jobs for local people. It really been all positive, we have not had any unhappy comments at all.
“It’s valuable to the community certainly the board of Kinlochleven community trust discussed it in detail and they do feel it will be a benefit to the community.”