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Cairngorm Mountain downturn has lead to more than 100 job losses


By Gavin Musgrove

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Successive poor winters and the closure of the Cairngorm funicular have led to 111 job losses in Badenoch and Strathspey since 2012/13, according to the business’ owner.

The number of staff employed directly at the resort has fallen from 80.5 at the start of that period to a workforce of 46.5 this current season.

Taking into account the spin-off on the wider area, there were 247 people in employment in total seven years ago but this has since slumped to 136.5 because of the struggles faced by Cairngorm Mountain.

The employment impacts prepared by resort and estate owner Highlands and Islands Enterprise were revealed as part of the first public consultation on a new masterplan to guide future development at the resort.

The Cairngorm funicular has not run since September 2018 because of safety concerns over part of the concrete pillars which support the two kilometres of track.
The Cairngorm funicular has not run since September 2018 because of safety concerns over part of the concrete pillars which support the two kilometres of track.

Midlothian-based Jura Consultants and Threesixty Architecture, of Inverness, are leading the masterplan sessions which conclude this evening in Aviemore.

Paul Jardine, managing director of Jura Consultants, said: “The local economy has suffered because of the combination of poor ski seasons and also the funicular.

“It is difficult to ascribe the proportion of job losses between the two but taken together that’s the scale of the impact.

“But a lot of this is driven by the direct loss of employment on the mountain and quite a lot of this can be attributed to the loss of the funicular.”

He continued: “Essentially for every job that is lost on the hill we are seeing another two in the local economy."

Paul Jardine at the first masterplan session in Grantown. Consultants are urging the public to repond to the online survey on the future of Cairngorm Mountain.
Paul Jardine at the first masterplan session in Grantown. Consultants are urging the public to repond to the online survey on the future of Cairngorm Mountain.

Four strategies have been laid out for redeveloping the Cairngorm resort: from XL (regional scale) with summer and winter blueprints to benefit the Cairngorms and wider region; through L (national park scale) such as mountain biking, snow-making, transport connectivity; M (mountain scale) including the Ptarmigan building and funicular and S (human scale) very localised such as hill-walking groups and school engagement.

The consultants have said that the public engagement sessions are going well.

Around 55 people turned out in Grantown on Tuesday and about 35 in Kingussie yesterday.

Higher numbers are expected in Aviemore.

An online consultation has been launched in conjunction with the four events for the public. Jura Consultants and Threesixty Architecture have said that they want to gather as many views as possible.

The link for the consultation is www.hie.co.uk/cairngorm and the deadline for responses is March 8.

The final report from the consultants is expected to be presented to HIE in May or June.

More on this story in the latest Strathy now on sale.


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