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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 June, 2005, 06:37 GMT 07:37 UK
Welshness 'key' to leisure plans
Llanberis leisure centre
The centre would include a large swimming pool
Plans for a new leisure complex which could create up to 800 new jobs will be examined by councillors on Tuesday.

The scheme at the former Glyn Rhonwy quarry in Llanberis, Gwynedd, includes indoor skiing, a water park and hotel.

A survey ordered by developer Snowdonia Gateway said its "Welshness" should be viewed as a selling point rather than an obstacle.

Gwynedd Council will decide if the firm should have rights to the site for another 21 months.

Snowdonia Gateway said the first phase would cost 115m - possibly excluding the ski run, and would take up to two-and-a-half years to complete.

It claimed it would create 550 jobs at first, a figure which would rise during the second phase, and generate 12m for the local economy.

We have always felt that this project is the grassroots opportunity that Wales has been crying out for
Gwyn Pritchard, Snowdonia Gateway

The plans have been revised and scaled down since they were originally announced, with proposals for a dome and revolving ski slope dropped.

On Tuesday afternoon councillors will discuss the report into the impact of the development by the School of Social Science at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Researchers examined the effect on the economy, language and culture of the area, and questioned local people and organisations, including businesses, councillors and clergy.

The report said attitudes for and against the existing proposal were "fairly evenly balanced".

"Of those questioned, nine thought it was a 'very good' idea, and seven that to do so would be 'quite good'," it said.

"On the other hand, there were also nine who opposed the suggestion, and three who were undecided. Only one respondent felt too uninformed to venture an opinion."

Sme 12m could be generated for Llanberis' economy

The report said half of those questioned felt unable to comment on the likely implications for the Welsh language.

But it went on to say that "eight individuals thought that it would make things worse, while five believed there could be some benefits".

"For one person, 'language is our biggest asset and should be capitalised upon', while another felt the development would provide 'an opportunity to promote Welsh language and culture to a very wide audience," the report added.

It said the project would have "a significant and unavoidable effect on the language and culture of north west Wales".

But it said that could work in either direction, "either as a further blow to an already precarious situation, or as an exemplary effort to safeguard and sustain the indigenous culture and tongue".

Snowdonia Gateway managing director Gwyn Pritchard said: "Our stated aims for the project have always been the need for sensitivity to the nature and needs of the local community, and of Wales and Snowdonia, and a key element in formulating the proposal.

"We have always felt that this project is the grassroots opportunity that Wales has been crying out for."

Mr Pritchard urged the council to extend the consortium's rights to land to allow it to prepare for a planning consultation and allow local people to be consulted.

  • Gwynedd councillors is also due to discuss controversial plans to add another 300 berths to the marina at Pwllheli, bringing the total to more than 700.

    Rethink over Snowdonia ski dome
    24 Jun 03 |  North West Wales

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