Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary has appointed local building firm Shetland Construction and Developments Ltd (SCD) to carry out a major upgrade of the Northmavine premises.
The work will include refurbishing the seal unit based inside a 19th century cooperage, and building new outdoor pens for seals and otters, a new otter unit and a visitor centre.
Sanctuary founder Jan Bevington said: “I can’t believe this vision I have been holding for more than 30 years is about to become a reality. Everyone by now must know what that vision is – to have fantastic facilities to care for Shetland’s wonderful marine wildlife.”
The sanctuary has been awarded more than £300,000 by the Sullom Voe Association, which represents Shetland Islands Council and the locally-based oil and gas industry, and almost £100,000 by the European Leader fund, to pay for the work that will future-proof the centre for the next few decades.
SCD has appointed Case Shetland to do the design work and the company’s newest recruit, building technician Rhona Tait, has experience of the project from her time as an apprentice with the SIC.
Mrs Bevington added: “It has taken us a long time to get to this stage, and it’s very exciting to see work finally starting on creating the sanctuary we have been dreaming of since I first started caring for marine life.”
• See full story in The Shetland Times on Friday.