Did Boris have a favourite lilo he used to float around on when he was young? After his ‘Olympic legacy’ floating park on the Thames ‘sank’ into oblivion it seems he has been using bath time to dream up some more lilo type developments for the river and the Royal docks. Boris’ original idea was criticised by objectors as ‘an unwelcome intrusion’ into the river. The Port of London Authority was also unhappy and considered his watery park would be a ‘navigation hazard’. His new plan for homes floating in the Docks has been panned as a ‘Titanic mistake’ by London City Airport campaigner Alan Haughton who says ‘The Royal Docks contains the London City Airport Public Safety Zone - also called a crash zone. The Department for Transport strictly forbids development in a Crash Zone’.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 26/03/2013 - 14:28.
So what exactly is an Olympic sports legacy? The Government seems to think it is more spectacles of elite sport. George Osborne has decided to waive tax rules to allow Usain Bolt and other top athletes to attend the Grand Prix event to be held at the Olympic Stadium in the summer. He says this is to ‘secure the Olympic Legacy’. Bolt hasn’t yet said he will come. Boris, son of John, has also weighed in with a spectacle of his own, a two day cycling festival to be attended by up to 70,000 including elite cyclists like Wiggo and Trott. Spiffing away Boris said: ‘"Following the superhuman efforts of our Team GB cyclists last year, thousands of cycling enthusiasts, both experienced and amateur, riding a fantastic route through the streets of our fine city is surely a fitting legacy’.
Elsewhere local media are now regularly reporting so-called ‘Olympic Legacy grants’ being made to clubs around the country. Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club, for example, has been given £50,000 to ‘revamp facilities’. Warlingham Squash and Racketball Club in Surrey has also got £50,000 to make improvements like putting in a boiler and building women’s changing rooms. Several clubs in Northamptonshire are to share £500,000 to do up their facilities. These grants are described as ‘Olympic legacies’. However, it is hard to see what is specifically Olympic about the grants. They are just National Lottery funds which are being distributed by Sport England from a pot of £16.6million from something called the Inspired Facilities Fund.
A couple of sports festivals and a £16.6million fund are not going to make much impression on the present furore surrounding the decline in school sports funding. Far from inspiring a generation London 2012 saw sport participation in the target group of 16 to 25year olds fall.
Nor does it make up for the £2.175billion taken from the National Lottery for the Olympics. This raid on the Lottery included the loss of hundreds of millions of pounds taken from children’s sport in the name of elite sport. Nor has the DCMS repaid the Big Lottery Fund from which it grabbed £638.098million. After over a year of lobbying and a campaign now supported by more than 3,200 charities demanding the return of £425million of the stolen funds it has indicated it may repay £100 to £150million, but not until 2014 at the earliest. Jowell originally promised to repay all the Big Lottery Fund money. The DCMS also say in an attached Freedom of Information response: 'Repayments will not include interest based on inflation'. Most of that is probably lost for good. The rest, of course, will not be repaid at all.
A full rundown of the money taken from the Lottery, which could have been spent on other, better causes was provided in the DCMS Freedom of Information response:
'a total of £2.175 billion of Lottery funding is included in the £9.298bn public sector funding provision for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games…
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 08/02/2013 - 04:05.
More trouble with stadiums. Is this a record? For one Summer Games' stadium to remain out of action until after the next Olympics has ended? In London the LLDC has now said the Olympic stadium may not be used until August 2016. West Ham still seems to be the leading bidder in a race with Leyton Orient, Formula One and the UCFB College of Football Business with the NFL a wild card. In typical Olympics fashion Karren Brady has been talking up the jobs that will be created if West Ham win, claiming a thousand jobs will be created at the stadium. And, of course, in case we forget, where the Olympics are concerned property development is at the heart of the project and West Ham expect to make a killing on the redevelopment of their Green Street site
And then there's that budget again. The original cost of the stadium rose from £280m to £496m despite InsidetheGames reporting otherwise! Now a further £200 million may need to be spent on modifying the stadium for its future lessee on top of the £500 million already splashed out on its construction. In the meantime the LLDC will have to pay for the maintenance of the stadium while it lacks a tenant. As if that was not enough, the promise to continue to provide an athletics track has resurfaced as, if the stadium is not equipped with covered seating for one of these lessees, the deal with the IAAF for the Athletics World Championships in 2017 may have to be renegotiated. This could presage further trouble between the BOA and other parts of the Olympic team as S Coe, already a vice-president of the IAAF, has an ambition to head that body and retaining the stadium as an athletics venue is critical to that objective!
Hardly surprisingly after recent controversies the LLDC appears to have adopted a position of extreme caution in its planning. Dennis Hone, new Chief Executive of the LLDA, is reported as saying: “We need to make a decision on which of the four, if any, will provide the best long-term option and the best value for money. But it is important to remember that this is a 100-year lease we are talking about with the Stadium so we have to get it right.” 'If any'!
But London is not the only Olympic city to be experiencing stadium blues. Rio is wracked with controversy over the fate of the famous Maracanã stadium and sports complex. A public hearing into the privatisation of the stadium and complex was interrupted by a demonstration with hundreds expressing their disgust at the manoeuvrings of the authorities. Close on a billion dollars have been spent on programmes to upgrade the facilities. The football stadium has been closed for years as earlier programmes have been reversed. Now, despite promises from politicians like the present Mayor of Rio who said that “the privatization of the Maracanã is inconceivable”, privatisation is the preferred option following a well trodden path in mega events of public money being used to advance private interests. ‘Consultation’ takes the familiar form of presenting an agreed plan and ignoring objections. As Christopher Gaffney writes:
'The expenditure of public money on public works to be handed to private interests that involves the destruction of a top-performing public school, a century-old indigenous heritage site, and two Olympic quality training facilities in order to generate even more profit for Brazil’s richest man, is a perversity that boggles the imagination.'
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Mon, 12/11/2012 - 00:54.
Boris Johnson’s ‘Tower of Piffle” is one of the names invented by journalists for what is properly called the ArcelorMittal Orbit. It is being erected close to the Olympic stadium in east London. ArcelorMittal is the largest steel producing company in the world. Its chairman and CEO is Lakshmi Mittal.
The following is taken from; In the wake of ArcelorMittal: The global steel giant’s local impacts
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Thu, 12/04/2012 - 12:30.
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Wed, 11/04/2012 - 13:11.
Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games Feb 2012 report
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Fri, 06/04/2012 - 18:54.
The Olympic Delivery Authority’s programme is on track and within budget. The Delivery Authority’s management of its building programme has been exemplary. However, due mainly to significant increases in the cost of venue security, the likelihood of staying within the overall £9.3 billion Public Sector Funding Package is very finely balanced once the Department’s own best estimates of the most likely costs are taken into account. The Funding Package of £9.3 billion allocated to the Olympics does not cover the totality of the costs to the public purse of delivering the Games and their legacy, which are already heading for around £11 billion.
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Fri, 06/04/2012 - 18:47.
Now it's the turn of Loughborough University and Leicestershire Constabulary to get up the nose of the British Olympic Association! It's already being charged £750,000 to use the facilities at Loughborough for Team GB but it is now facing a further charge of £1million for security.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 29/02/2012 - 15:47.