This was reported in Zoo Digest today but also on the local government website too - some good news for WMZ! Welsh Assembly Government - 12 Mar 2011 09:30 Regeneration project at Welsh Mountain Zoo is Simples Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Jocelyn Davies AM has met the meerkats at the Welsh Mountain Zoo– National Zoo of Wales in Colwyn Bay while visiting the attraction to see plans for an innovative new project that will provide jobs, training opportunities and community facilities as well as adding another exciting exhibit to the zoo. The proposed Wales Centre for Wildlife Skills and Education, which will be run by the National Zoological Society of Wales in partnership with Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, has had funding from the Welsh Assembly Government’s North Wales Coast Regeneration Area programme agreed in principle and, subject to securing additional external funding for the project, work on the new facility will begin in 2012. The development will combine a new all-weather Tropical House with a science discovery exhibition which will include a training, skills and education centre. Llandrillo College will run courses in animal and life science related areas in the centre, which will also be used as a community facility by schools and groups. The building will be built to the highest possible BREEAM environmental standards and will also showcase the environmental technologies used in its construction. The Deputy Minister Jocelyn Davies said: “Regeneration is about making the most of what an area has to offer. The zoo is already a big feature of the North Wales coast and can therefore play a big role in regenerating the area by providing new jobs, training opportunities and community facilities as well as boosting the tourism industry. “The National Zoo’s development plans look very interesting and I commend them for their intention to develop a facility that will benefit the local area in so many ways. The educational side of the development will provide excellent new training opportunities for people across North Wales in a field where opportunities are limited at the moment, while the enhancements to the visitor attractions will benefit the local economy by increasing the number of tourists visiting the area." The zoo’s Co-Director Chris Jackson said “The new centre in Colwyn Bay will be an imaginative attempt at using a major zoological exhibit to draw the public and Welsh industry into an understanding of science & technology whilst promoting and publicly advocating sustainable building technology. “There is a growing demand for training and skills in Life Sciences which can open up a wide range of career opportunities for people. We believe we could cater for some of this demand at the Zoo by working in partnership with Coleg Llandrillo and create something unique to Wales. “On completion, the project will create at least 12 new positions at the Zoo and safeguard the jobs of existing staff. However the funding package is far from complete and we are making approaches to relevant grant giving bodies as well as having a public appeal for the £1 million that will be required to bring the project to fruition.” The proposed new centre will build on the Zoo’s recent development programme that includes Sea Lion Rock, a new Condor aviary and investment in their Safari Restaurant.