Jul 29 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Friday
A KILLIN tourist attraction will be axed later in the year after being branded “financially unsustainable”.
Seasonal staff employed at the Breadalbane Folklore Centre have been told that the heritage site will not reopen following the end of this year’s tourist season, in October.
A spokesperson for Stirling District Tourism Ltd (SDT), the body which manages the facility overlooking the Falls of Dochart, revealed local authority bosses are already discussing potential future uses for the council-owned building.
A representative for the council confirmed that talks between themselves, the tourism group and a Killin-based development organisation were ongoing.
She explained: “The decision not to reopen the Breadalbane Folklore Centre in 2012 was taken reluctantly by SDT, in consultation with ourselves, as it is financially unsustainable.
“The council has been in discussions with the local community regarding possible future uses for the building for some time, and they are currently undertaking an options appraisal on a number of properties.
“All parties want to see a sustainable future for the building.”
Bruce Crawford, the MSP for the Stirling constituency, this week said he had written to the council in a bid to establish what the future holds for the four, part-time, employees embroiled in the uncertainly.
He said: “I have been contacted by constituents in Killin who have informed me that it is not intended to reopen the Breadalbane Folklore Centre after the end of the current tourist season, with the loss of several jobs.
“Tourism is a hugely important to the local economy in Killin, and while I recognise the difficulties caused by the recession, it is essential that all efforts possible are made to maintain the tourism product on offer locally, and protect the associated jobs.”
Housed inside a former mill, visitors over the years have enjoyed interactive tales of St Fillan and exhibits charting the history of several Scottish clans, including a McGregor family heirloom believed to be Rob Roy’s sword.
The scenic venue was saved from the mire in 2009 after it benefited from part of £40,000 council grant to its management – which also presides over Stirling’s Old Town Jail, the Wallace Monument and the Rob Roy and Trossachs Visitors’ Centre in Callander.
A SDT spokesperson said that a similar investment would be required once more to keep the centre running, and described the prospect of continuing without local authority backing as “unviable”.
National tourism body VisitScotland declined to comment on the situation as the Observer went to press yesterday afternoon (Thursday).