Plans revealed for former Sea Life Sanctuary

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The new owners of Barcaldine’s former Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary have revealed plans for the site.

More than 50 members of the public turned out to a consultation event last week at Victory Hall in Benderloch.

Gael Force Fusion managing director Stewart Graham was there with other key staff to explain future plans and answer questions on them.

Mr Graham hopes an application will be ready to go to planners in the next four to six weeks and pledged to take people’s feedback from Thursday’s public session into account.

He said ’99 per cent’ of feedback had been positive and had included constructive ideas  from the community, although a few people had been against the scheme.

Plans on the table at the consultation showed intentions to reuse the cafe and shop buildings as an office and welfare area for staff while replacing the area of the old exhibition and aquarium area and seal pools with a new shed.

Screening around the site will be kept but hundreds of plantation trees, many over matured and with die back, will be felled to make way for a large yard where staff can manufacture the fish farm pens outdoors before taking them to the shore.

Any new trees planted will be native and bosses are also looking at opening up access to some of the woodland area to maintain access for people. They will also look at upgrading a stretch of cycle path that passes the property.

The marine and aquaculture equipment manufacturer will be moving out of the premises it has been leasing nearby from Scottish Sea Farms, the lease runs out in December 2021.

‘We want to keep our business here and grow here,’ said Mr Graham.

More jobs have been created recently with another 12 on the horizon. Mr Graham said he hoped to fill those jobs from people living in the area.

The Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary was closed by its owners Merlin Entertainments at the end of October 2018 with the loss of 11 jobs.

Merlin said at the time the decision was ‘heart-wrenching’ for everyone involved but after exploring every possible option to keep the centre open, none offered a viable solution for its long-term sustainability.

Caption: Plans for the former Sea Life sanctuary site are explained at a consultation with the public in Benderloch last week. 16-T41-Gaelfusionconsultation