£1.5m project set to transform gateway to Crinan Canal

A historic disused building known locally as the ‘Egg Shed’ is to be transformed into a new heritage and community hub at the gateway to the Crinan Canal in Ardrishaig.

The £1.5 million project led by Scottish Canals will create a bespoke interpretation centre telling the story of the Crinan Canal and the communities on its banks.

From its role in the ancient Gaelic kingdom of Dalriada to the tale of Queen Victoria’s journey along the Crinan Canal, the new centre will allow visitors to step into the unique history of Mid-Argyll via an array of interactive exhibits and interpretation material.

As well as the creation of the interpretation attraction, the revamped Egg Shed project includes space for community activities that could include everything from art installations to pop-up exhibitions and opportunities for social enterprises and community groups. An array of public realm and access improvements also form part of the project, with plans to create new viewpoints and walkways around the building and new access connections with Ardrishaig.

The works, which form the first phase of the redevelopment of the former Gleaner Oil depot in the area, are expected to be complete by early 2019.

Ardrishaig Locks

Christopher Breslin, head of regeneration and development at Scottish Canals, said: “Over the past few years, we’ve worked with our partners and the local community to develop a shared vision for the future of the Crinan Canal corridor. This project marks the latest stage in the delivery of those grand ambitions and the transformation of Ardrishaig into an attractive leisure, tourism and maritime hub.

“The redevelopment of the Egg Shed will help deliver a sustainable future for Ardrishaig, creating a fantastic tourist destination and a vital community resource that will bring jobs and economic benefits to the area. We’re grateful to our funders and the local community for their support and look forward to welcoming them to the new hub in early 2019.”

The project is funded by the Scottish Government and the European Community Argyll and the Islands LEADER 2014-2020 programme; the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund; Scottish Canals; Argyll and Bute Council’s Tarbert & Lochgilphead Regeneration Fund; SUSTRANS Community Links Fund; Shanks Argyll & Bute and Argyll & Bute Council through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund; and Ardrishaig Community Trust. A local contractor TSL, based in Oban, successfully won the contract for the project and begins work on site this week.

Aileen Morton, policy lead for economic development at Argyll & Bute Council, said: “It’s great that Ardrishaig is another step closer to having the community and business resource its residents want. The redevelopment of this site is all about working with the local community to create jobs and boost the local economy and the project was championed by local people. The council has agreed to contribute up to a quarter of a million pounds to make this project possible, as part of our wider work to regenerate the Mid-Argyll area.”

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