Oban’s youth set to benefit from Barcaldine investment
A NUMBER of businesses will need to be relocated from Barcaldine’s Marine Resource Centre following the news that it is being redeveloped as a £ 35 million salmon hatchery.
However, many see the move as positive, saying it will bring new investment into the site, and will complement work to establish Oban as a university town.
Last week Scottish Sea Farms, Scotland’s second largest salmon farmer, announced it had bought the marine business hub by Loch Creran, where it plans to build a new land-based RAS (re- circulating aquacul- ture system) freshwater facility, for rearing smolts until they are ready to transfer to sea farms, creating up to 25 permanent jobs.
Jim Gallagher, managing director of Scottish Sea Farms (SSF), said this new ‘ world class facility’ would be important ‘in securing employment for the company’s 200 employees in Argyll and the 240 others across Highland, Orkney and Shetland. Feedback has been extremely positive and we are now preparing plans for a community consultation which should get underway after the summer holiday period.’
Construction work is due to begin after a series of open days and consultations on how best to develop the site, and SSF anticipates the first fish reared in the new facility to enter the water in 2019.
Currently the campus serves a host of marine needs, including moorings, yacht coverings and business premises – some of which will need to be relocated, an SSF spokeswoman added.
‘The previous owners of the site [ Lithgow’s Ltd] have been dealing directly with their tenants, and we are doing what we can to accommodate a number of the businesses who will continue at the site,’ she said.
‘Extended notice periods have been provided to some tenants and dialogue has taken place with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and [Argyll and Bute] Council on helping these tenants to relocate within Argyll, with a number of potential locations already identified.’
Stephen Divers, managing director of Fusion Marine, which employs 17 people at the site, said: ‘From our perspective, we see this as a positive development as it will bring new investment into the site that will deliver a modern facility well-placed to support the sustainable development of our vitally important aquaculture sector.
‘We have been in dialogue with SSF and are exploring options and developing a plan that will enable Fusion Marine to continue our manufacturing activities at Barcaldine.’
David Smart, head of special projects with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which was involved in the discussions, welcomed the news.
He said: ‘The aquaculture sector creates attractive high-value job opportunities, particularly for young people, in rural locations. The creation of 25 permanent posts therefore is a very welcome prospect.
‘We are now exploring with Scottish Sea Farms the potential for education, training and development opportunities linked to this project. This would complement the work that is under way to establish Oban as a university town and strengthen the area’s appeal to young people.’