If you've been to Snowdonia recently, you may have noticed that the Ogwen Valley visitor centre has been looking like a construction site for a while now as the centre and Warden's Office are upgraded to make them better able to cope with the increasing numbers of visitors to the area.
And not before time, I reckon. The building has looked pretty much the same for at least 20 years and a rapid diversion into the public loo a month or so back was an interesting journey back through time to my teenage years...
Those visitors are set to include Welsh Government First Minister Carwyn Jones, who's scheduled to drop by today - Thursday 25 April - for a look at the work in progress, which is set to be completed this summer.
The project has is down to the Cwm Idwal Partnership (an initiative which includes Snowdonia National Park Authority, Natural Resources Wales and the National Trust) as part of the EU-backed Communities and Nature (CAN) project, and is being carried out by local construction company Derwen Llŷn.
250,000 Visitors A Year
“With around 250,000 visitors a year Llyn Ogwen and the Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve are important attractions," sasys the First Minister. "The new facility being built will offer better facilities for the walkers, climbers and families who come here. It will be a real asset for the area and the tourism industry.”
Local Materials And Manpower
Meanwhile Chief Executive of the National Park Aneurin Phillips is keen to stress the economic benefits of the scheme: "Our intention is to boost the economic prosperity of the area. We can achieve this by not only improving our services to the people who come here to enjoy the area, but by ensuring that we are using local materials and local manpower.
"The materials to build the centre come from Penrhyn Quarry over the mountain and Cwt y Bugail Quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog and local companies from Pwllheli, Ffestiniog, Caernarfon, Colwyn Bay and Bethesda are carrying out the work. The scheme also means that while working here, a number of local apprentices have also gained experience and opportunity to develop their craft, under very difficult circumstances at times."
So there you go. It should look like the artist's impression above once finished, but hopefully with smaller packs...