Back in July 2016 after I posted an article about job creation in the aftermath of London2012 on Games Monitor BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme contacted me for an interview. They had come across my FoI requests which showed that so far fewer than 1000 jobs had been created on the Olympic Park and LLDC projections for homes within the Park were likely to be lower than 6,650. In fact following further reseach I found that the figure is probably around 4,700 with the possibility of a 'legacy' of almost no genuinely affordable housing when taking into account the demolition of housing at Clays Lane and Park Village for the Olympics.
My interview with You and Yours was pre-recorded making it impossible for me to argue on air. The programme then held a live interview with the London Legacy Development Corporation's Director of Communications, Marketing and Strategy, Ben Fletcher, who proceeded to claim the LLDC would be creating 40,000 jobs and 24,000 homes. He compared this with a town the size of Milton Keynes in its early stages.
The BBC interviewer pointed out that Stratford City, the massive development next to the Olympic Park, would have been built anyway. Fletcher couldn't disagree with this obvious statement but resorted to the usual strategy of casting doubt on whether Stratford City would have been completed given the credit crunch. Fletcher also repeated the canard of the 'catalytic' effect and declared "what we don't know and what we will never know is whether those projects would have survived without the Olympics." Many people, he thought, would say they would not have done so.
Sadly in these circumstances reporters are often not well versed in the specifics of the case. For example, the much touted 'catalytic' effect had been discounted long before in 2003 by the Olympics master planner, Jason Prior. A property journalist had reported:
Prior believes the long-term regeneration elements and development opportunities will happen with or without the Olympics. What may differ is the pace of change. In the event of a successful bid, developers in partnerships might have to play a longer-term game – the land would not be freed for its end use until after the 2012 event.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 25/01/2017 - 15:31.
Aftermath2012: First they came for the residents, businesses, gardeners, then they came for the artists
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sat, 30/07/2016 - 23:26.
Additional information re Athletes Village in section 
One of the major promises of London 2012 was that it would create a large number of affordable homes for East Londoners.
In a recent Freedom of Information response to a question:
How many homes are now expected to be provided on the Olympic Park? What is the breakdown expected to be per neighbourhood?
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 07/06/2016 - 22:51.
The London Olympics has been the subject of some wildly optimistic job creation predictions, most notably Gordon Brown's claim of 50,000 jobs, which even the London Development Agency (LDA) warned should be 'treated with caution'.
In a recent Freedom of Information response to a question:
how many jobs are now predicted to be created in the Park as a whole, including at Here East, Olympicopolis and further jobs in the administration, security, maintenance, services, etc, in the Park?
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 03/06/2016 - 17:56.
After putting up heroic resistance in the public interest the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) finally gave in and published the details of the contract with West Ham for the London Olympics stadium after being ordered to do so by the Information Tribunal. However, a search of the LLDC website for the contract produces 'no result' and does not provide any trace of the document and nor is it mentioned under 'News' or 'Press Releases'. The full agreement can be found here. Interestingly the details of the contract had not been pursued by any public authority or by GLA Assembly Members, by the European Union or even by rival football clubs like Tottenham Hotspur or Leyton Orient but by Supporters groups from fourteen different clubs. Apparently Boris Johnson had said he would be happy for the contract to be published. If so it is hard to understand why he didn't push for this to happen, as the LLDC is very much his baby, rather than allow it to spend over £21,000 fighting the case.
The BBC outlined the details. The final cost of the stadium is £701million with the cost of conversion £272million, up from the original estimate of £160million. West Ham's contribution to this refit was £15million. [As an indication of how bad this deal is it has to be recalled that West Ham's previous owner Eggert Magnusson offered £100million to take over the Olympic stadium! He was prepared to guarantee an athletics legacy as well] It will pay £2.5million rent per year with a scale of charges depending on the club's footballing success or failure. However, it will not pay for a variety of services like security, undersoil heating, floodlighting, cleaning which are worth up to another £2.5million.
The BBC claims the stadium will be a multi-use venue. It is hard to see the point of this statement. It is a 'multi-use' venue because of the enormous amount of money spent on converting it to accommodate athletics and football! However, if a two month window for, in all probability, one major athletics event a year qualifies it as a multi-use venue then this is a strange understanding of multi-use. The fact that music events will also be hosted is hardly unusual for stadiums of this type, many football clubs host such events without this kind of expenditure.
However, in this article the BBC fails to mention the £40million loaned by Newham to West Ham as part of the deal although back in 2011 it reported on concerns in Newham and among some Newham councillors that the deal had little to offer the community and highlighted the control exercised by Newham's Mayor, Robin Wales, who is able to use political patronage to silence opposition in a borough without any non-Labour councillors. The BBC reported:
One serving councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "A significant number of councillors have reservations.
"There are massive doubts over supposed community benefits."
The councillor continued: "Why are we arranging a loan for a private company? West Ham should go to a bank like everybody else.
Councillors are afraid to speak out. This rings alarm bells.
Anita Shields, Independent auditor
"The financial football model is hardly blessed by success."
But not one serving politician will go on the record.
The councillor said: "The problem is the mayoral system.
"People are frightened to go against the mayor. They are frightened of a lack of patronage.
"He's had almost the same executive since 2000 - on £40,000 each. People want a bit of the action."
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 21/04/2016 - 00:27.
Two videos from No Eviction for Olympics protest against the eviction of homeless people for Tokyo2020. On January 27th 2016 the contstrucion company tried to seal off Meiji Park, Tokyo, where homeless people have been living, in some cases for years, and where the Olympic stadium is to be constructed. The company, JSC, also tried to cut off water for the homeless people. A protest by the homeless and their supporters succeeded in preventing this. The matter is being heard in court.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 22/03/2016 - 23:45.
The Olympic Park is stuffed with public art designed to mystify and mislead the public, like Boris's folly, the Orbit, a helter skelter without a skelter, which was dreamed up when Boris met Lakshmi in the washroom at Davos in 2009 and was built using steel from the site of killings and torture at the Serb concentration camp at Omarska, Bosnia. The skelter is now being added to make it into what it failed to be in a desperate effort to rescue it from oblivion. Another is RUN, which imaginatively consists of three large letters R U N, while elsewhere there are some upturned crayons called 'steles' stuck in the River Lea.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sat, 19/03/2016 - 20:53.
How appropriate that Pindar's Olympic Ode is quoted at the opening of the Greater London Authority's Olympic Legacy Supplementary Planning Guidance.
Well! these are tales of mystery!
And many a darkly-woven lie
With men will easy credence gain;
While truth, calm truth, may speak in vain,
For eloquence, whose honey’d sway
Our frailer mortal wits obey,
Can honour give to actions ill,
And faith to deeds incredible;
And bitter blame, and praises high,
Fall truest from posterity.
(Translations Of Pindar: The First Olympic Ode)
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Mon, 22/02/2016 - 16:35.
Article | 2012 Media | Clays Lane | Compulsory Purchase | Corruption & Ethics | Displacement | Legacy | London 2012 | Manor Gardens Allotments | Mega Events | Planning & Development | Regeneration | Travellers
An Emergency Statement Regarding the Japan Sports Council's Shutdown of Meiji Park on January 27th
January 28th, 2016
Kazumi Ohigashi, Senior Director of the Japan Sport Council
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Fri, 19/02/2016 - 21:57.
It's embarrassing to see how poor mainstream media has been in reporting or rather in failing to report the destruction of forests for the latest Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang2018 and Beijing2022. In the case of Beijing2022 not even one article seems to have been written on the subject. The alarm had been raised on Chinese social media and was followed up by Terry Townshend, a British birder living in Beijing writing on his own birding blog. But apart from a specialist paper like Nature Western media paid no attention to the possible damage to the forest on the site even though there was considerable and sensible discusion about the merits of the Beijing bid. In the case of Pyeongchang2018 there doesn't seem to have been any coverage until the Guardian got round to writing a very good article, but almost a year after the forest had been cut down! In January 2013 Games Monitor featured the work of a South Korean environmmental group, The Good Friends to Nature, who warned of the threat to Mount Gariwang and publicised further warnings and actions, including a one man protest in Seoul by a Korean Environmentalist, through to its destruction in the autumn of 2014.
Now as the first test runs are held at Mount Gariwang the Associated Press has leapt into action with a syndicated article representing the position of the skiers who make out that they are puzzled by the controversy surrounding the mountain and the cutting down of an important part of the forest. The organisers insist the restoration plans are still in play despite the ridicule heaped on them by environmentalists as both our article and the Guardian's article make clear. In the Guardian Green Korea is reported as saying:
“The organising committee will perhaps argue that they will replant around 300 trees, but all of them apart from those 181 bigger trees belong to small species under two metres in height. It is difficult to imagine that they plan to replant trees that represent the ecological properties of Mount Gariwang. We think their attitude is patronising.”
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 11/02/2016 - 00:43.
The protests against the eviction of homeless people from Meiji Park for the Tokyo2020 Olympics continue without any reports in the mainstream media outside Japan. It is hard to say how much is being reported in Japan. As of today the protests which started on 27th January 2016 are in their fourteenth day. Below are tweets from @noolympicsevict now telling the story in English.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 09/02/2016 - 17:35.
It's an old Olympics story. Evictions are one of the less observed Olympic sports. In Tokyo it is estimated that up 2,000 households face eviction. In addition, when the Olympics come to town homeless people are among those who are shoved out of the way as in Atlanta where homeless people were simply put on buses and taken out of the city. Meiji Park is the site of Tokyo's Olympic stadium so the homeless people who have been living in the Park for years now face being evicted by the forces of the State. Matters have come to a head as the tweets below demonstrate....
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 27/01/2016 - 02:16.
Was this an attempt to get a further equestrian event held at Greenwich following London2012? On 5th December 2015 Greenwich Council applied to itself for a licence to hold events on the Circus Field in Blackheath, see attachment. Among the events that could be held, under Section 5, were 'Tournaments, competitions and sporting displays'.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 19/01/2016 - 00:55.
A film by Hamburg filmmaker Marlene Wynants on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics - in English with German subtitles
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sun, 22/11/2015 - 16:13.
They are at it again. The International Olympic Committee, which allegedly considers the Environment to be its Third Dimension, having already cut down the sacred forest at Mount Gariwang for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is about to repeat this vandalism at the Songshan National Nature Reserve for the Winter Olympics at Beijing in 2022. The news was met with opposition on Chinese social media. One concerned ecologist, Wang Xi, who recently received his PhD and works at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, overlaid the map of the Nature Reserve with an image of the proposed ski run.
However, postings by objectors like doctoral student Lei Gu and Wang Xi on Weibo are said to be no longer available and, typically under these circumstances, neither the Olympic authorities in China nor the IOC would comment on the reports.
A British bird watcher and environmentalist, Terry Townshend, wrote about the Nature Reserve:
'The slopes below this peak contain many rare species, including Beijing’s only Shanxi orchids (Cypripedium shanxiense), not to mention the breeding habitat of several endangered and range restricted birds including Grey-sided Thrush (Turdus feae), Chinese (Green-backed) Flycatcher (Ficedula elisae), Chinese Thrush (Turdus mupinensis) and “Gansu” Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus). And it was in late May this year that I enjoyed a fantastic afternoon’s birding at this site with visiting Dick Newell, Rob Joliffe and Lyndon and Hilde Kearsley (here for the Swift project), during which time we encountered 7 species of phylloscopus warbler – Chinese Leaf, Claudia’s Leaf, Eastern Crowned, Hume’s Leaf, Pallas’s Leaf, Yellow-browed and Yellow-streaked as well as brief views of Grey-sided Thrush and ‘heard only’ Slaty-backed Flycatcher and White-throated Rock Thrush.'
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 04/11/2015 - 07:29.
Danger of default on Government Olympic debt to communities as campaigners mark ‘three year anniversary of shame’
For immediate release [12/8/2015]
Danger of default on Government Olympic debt to communities as campaigners mark ‘three year anniversary of shame’
Three years on from the end of London 2012 and £425 million in raided lottery cash owed to charities and communities across the UK has not been repaid, and the new Government has gone silent on the issue.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Thu, 13/08/2015 - 13:30.
There must be something in the water! After years of the old industrial sites in the Lea Valley being written off to justify their compulsory purchase and demolition to make way for the London Olympics the LLDC's Sweetwater web page now advertises the area as:
'One of the most important industrial sites in London, the area around Sweetwater has seen some of the UK’s most important innovations.
In the 19th century, the area was home to the East London Waterworks Company, but it was during the late 19th and early 20th century that it really came into its own with the growth of chemical, confectionery and petroleum industries taking off in the area.
Petrol was first registered for a patent by the company Carless, Capel & Leonard in the area around White Post Lane and a company based on White Post Lane first introduced the French process of dry cleaning to the UK.
A German V1 rocket and heavy bombing damaged many of the buildings in the area during World War Two, but industrial development continued from the 1950s onwards with confectionary, fur trade, engineering and fruit businesses, as well as timber yards and warehouses continued to make the area a real hive of activity and industrial innovation.'
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 11/03/2015 - 16:11.
Don't want the Olympics in your city? Then follow the example of NoBoston2014 and get campaigning before you even get to be a candidate (shortlisted) city. If you're unlucky enough to become a candidate city then learn some lessons from groups like NoChicago2016 or Comité Anti Olympique d'Annecy and enjoy avoiding becoming the host city. Of course things get harder the further up that Olympic mountain you go, but don't despair, even at the last minute voters can turn down the Games even after they have been awarded to the city as with Denver1976. The recent trouble the IOC has had with growing opposition in cities such as Munich (2022), Hamburg (2024), Vienna (2028), Budapest (2024), protests in Tokyo (2020), Oslo (2022), Krakow (2022), Stockholm (2022), St Moritz (2022), Rome (2020), Lviv (2022), limited support in Washington (2024), withdrawals on grounds of cost by Chicago (2024) New York (2024) and Philadelphia (2024), Seattle (2024), uncertainty in Paris (2024) shows both governments and citizens are getting wise.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 16/12/2014 - 03:09.
They went and did it! 500-year-old primeval forest at Mount Gariwang unlawfully destroyed for 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
By Rebecca Kim - Researcher at the Democracy & Social Movement Institute, SungkongHoe University, Seoul
Pyeongchang2018 has completed the destruction of the primeval forest which has stood on Mount Gariwang for hundreds of years to make way for the Alpine Downhill ski event which will last for all of three days.
This act and its unbelievable criminality have gone almost entirely unreported and unremarked in the world’s media. It is a measure of the hypocrisy and ruthlessness of the various organisations involved, the International Olympic Committee, the International Ski Federation, POCOG (Pyeongchang2018 Organising Committee), the South Korean Government and its provincial authorities, that all have protested their concern for the environment even as they have trashed this ecological jewel. Just after it had begun its destruction of this forest the South Korean government hosted the XII Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP12) and Peyongchang, Gangwon Province, was the venue for the Convention. The participant Parties were to bring forward national action plans to achieve the ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets’ by 2020, which are designed to tackle the causes of biodiversity loss and improve biodiversity status by safeguarding natural habitats and ecosystems. Ridiculously, the participants then adopted the ‘Gangwon Declaration on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’ just as this vital biodiverse ecosystem was being cut down on their very doorstep!
It was left to the visiting delegations from Friends of the Earth International and the Global Forest Coalition to issue strongly worded statements condemning the actions of the South Korean government and the Olympic authorities, denunciations which were, of course, ignored by those organisations. The GFC said
“the planned ski course would cause major damage to a site of both ecological and cultural importance, as it is one of the oldest sacred forests in South Korea. The forests on Mount Gariwang are not ‘restorable’ to their original state because they are composed of an intrinsically balanced mixture of tens of different temperate broad leaf and coniferous tree species.”
And FoEI said
“The situation at Mount Gariwang reminds us of similar situations in other countries who accept to organize big sports events. There is already existing infrastructure in the region that can be used for the Olympic Games, and it is both ecologically and economically damaging to build a new ski slope to be used for three days only. The Olympic Games should promote the protection of nature, not devastate it.”
In point of fact there is nothing surprising about these events. In 1995 the International Olympic Committee declared the environment to be the Third Dimension of Olympism. However, ever since at Nagano (1998), Salt Lake City (2002), Turin (2006),Vancouver (2010) and Sochi (2014) the Winter Olympics has continued to wreak varying degrees of environmental damage. The last two Games have been no exception. The re-routing of the Vancouver–Whistler Sea-to-Sky Highway at the allegedly green Vancouver Olympics led to the construction of a four lane highway through what British Columbia’s own environmental survey described as the “most significant area for plant diversity" along the entire Sea-to-Sky Highway at Eagleridge Bluffs, where biologists identified 22 "regionally rare or significant plants." The recent Sochi Olympics resulted in some of the worst damage yet. Biologist Aleksei Yablokov, who has been at the forefront of the environmental movement in Russia since the 1980s, described the devastation:
"The preparation for the Olympics can only be called intolerable barbarism," he said. "Wetlands of international importance have been destroyed in the Imeretinskaya Lowland. The territory of the Caucasus State Reserve, which was thought to be untouchable, has been damaged. The Mzymta River has been ravaged. And this is just a small part of what is going on there."
Now it’s the turn of South Korea, which is hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Despite having the opportunity to use an alternative site the Olympic and South Korean authorities chose to smash their way through what is probably the most important forest on the Korean Peninsula. The Olympic authorities have made much of the fact that they changed the construction plan and chose not to destroy the right hand side of the mountain site by not building the Women’s Course there. However, it turned out even this alteration was made because of the cost of construction and not, as they claimed, because Gangwon Province and the FIS ‘considered’ the negative impact on the environment.
After an initial felling in August, which was stopped after protests by environmental groups, the Gangwon provincial government pushed ahead in September with a massive, unlawful felling at the Ha-bong (‘bong’ means a mountain top) slope construction site on Mount Gariwang. The Games are being held in Gangwon Province some 150kms east of Seoul. When I arrived at the site on 27th September with a group of Korean environmental activists I witnessed the full extent of the criminality committed on the sacred Gariwang mountain. A huge area on the top of Ha-bong had been shaved and large trees with a trunk diameter of over 1 metre had been cut down and moved away.
A team of activists had found that on the upper part of Ha-bong there were 247 big and old trees in total, including 150 Quercus mongolica (Mongolian Oak), 37 Kalopanax septemlobus (Prickly Castor Oil Tree), 14 Betula ermani var. ganjuensis (Ganjuan Birch), 12 Abies holophylla (Manchurian Fir). Experts say that it takes 70 years for the Quercus mongolica to grow as big as 45cm at chest height, for the Kalopanax septemlobus it takes 90 years, and for the Betula ermani var. ganjuensis, also known as the Wangsasre, a hybrid birch unique to Korea, it takes 60 years at least. According to the 'Naturality' scale established by the South Korean Ministry of Environment, a forest with trees aged more than 20~50 year-old trees is categorised as "virgin forest" and scaled 'degree 8', while a forest with trees aged over 50 year-old trees is considered to be a "climax forest" and scaled 'degree 9'. All forests from degree 8~10 are supposed to be strictly protected from any kind of development activities.
Right after the massive felling, which began on 17th September, a team including staff from the Wonju Office of the Ministry of Environment and POCOG along with representatives from environmental groups, the Good Friends of Nature-Korea and Green Korea United, visited the site, as ordered in the 'EIA', to check that the contractor was carrying out the promised 'transplantation'. This transplantation had been promised by the government as part of its programme of restoration to overcome the opposition of environmental groups to the desecration of Mount Gariwang. Some environmentalists, notably the Good Friends of Nature, had remained unconvinced by the idea that the forest could be restored and continued to oppose the project and in the run up to the felling a coalition of environmental groups had protested at the inadequacy of the transplantation programme and called for the downhill event to be moved and Mount Gariwang to be spared the devastation they feared would befall it.
What the civil society representatives found was completely outrageous and exceeded their worst expectations. The Wonju District Office of the Ministry of the Environment had issued ‘Recommendations Co-discussed with Gangwon Provincial Government’ in August which stated: “prior to the felling work, there must be: a panel of experts by discipline area; a completion of re-evaluation and marking of the trees to be transplanted; an advanced transplantation of the shrubbery and herbaceous flowers; an accompaniment by vegetation experts while the felling takes place”. However, the promised ‘transplantation’ was not being put into practice and there was not a single ‘expert’ on site to oversee the work as stipulated by the Ministry of Environment.
In reality this ‘transplantation’ plan never amounted to anything. Even when it was first devised it covered only 121 (2.2%) out of 5,315 big trees with a height of over 8m. The government claims the total number of the trees to be felled is about 50,000, civil organisations say it is over 120,000. However, with time even that original very limited transplantation plan had shrunk and Gangwon Province now refuses outright to transplant any trees with a height of over 5m. In other words, they choose not to ‘transplant’ what must be transplanted and restored but only what can easily be moved. The contractor did not even have the list of the rare endemic plants, 11species including Allium microdictyon, Viola diamantica, Cacalia firma Koma, Disporum ovale Ohwi, Iris odaesanensis, Paeonia obovata Maxim, which were to be transplanted. The activists found numerous rare endemic plants crushed and rotting on the ground. The transplanting that had been done was skimpy and shoddy, the bare minimum, as Dr Lee of the Good Friends of Nature put it, 'to save the contractor's butt'. The contractor is refusing to transplant 'all the 11 species on the site', as stipulated in the EIA, but only those 'in their work area'.
Instead of insisting that the EIA be implemented by the contractor POCOG, the Pyeongchang organising committee, made excuses saying that as the transplanting process is very tricky, because they also have to move the soil along with the plants to a temporary artificial habitat near to the felling zone before then transplanting the plants to a ‘similar environment’ on the sides of the slope and later, after the Games, to a site at the bottom of the lift area, they had to 'volume down' the amount of plants to be transplanted. However, not only had they reduced the volume of plants but the work they had done was of a very poor standard. In addition, a large number of trees including rare Quercus mongolica and Abies nephrolepis (Khingan Fir), the latter species was to be transplanted, were found just felled and moved away. Among the most precious trees to be destroyed was one affectionately known as ‘Grandma Mountain God Ash Tree’ which was reckoned to be two hundred and twenty years old and the largest of its kind in Korea.
About Mount Gariwang
Mount Gariwang, which has been described as an ‘Ecological Ark of Ancient Forest’, is not just important for its flora and fauna. It is one of the most important mountain areas on the Korean peninsula, historically, culturally and ecologically. On the National Forest marking stone at the top of the mountain there is a legend that the name of Gariwang is a modification of 'Gal Wang'. The legend says that King Gal took refuge in a temple on the mountain, 'Seoshimtoe’, now in ruins. King Gal was believed to be either a King from ancient China or a king from the old tribal kingdom 'Maek guk'. The 'Maek' inhabited the central and northern parts of the Korean Peninsula and southern Manchuria and a branch of this tribe created the Korean Kingdom of Goguryeo (BC 37-668) in that region, the largest of the 'Three Kingdoms' of Korea (from 1st Century BC to 7th Century AD). The mountain was called 'Gal Wang san’ (Gal King mountain) and the sound was slowly changed to today's 'Gariwang san'.
Later the mountain became associated with the Chosun dynasty
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sat, 22/11/2014 - 00:56.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Sun, 26/10/2014 - 08:32.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 25/09/2014 - 11:43.
The argument over the Pyeongchang2018 downhill course at Mount Gariwang continues. Recently green activists noticed that the authorities were starting to cut down trees on the mountain. The coalition of South Korean environment groups arguing with the government over the so-called restoration programme immediately protested pointing out that no agreement had yet been reached over this restoration programme. No work on the mountain is allowed to begin until this programme is agreed and the environmental coalition has so far rejected the Government's proposals for restoring the forest after the Olympics. The Department of the Environment then intervened to stop the work.
In a petition launched on Avaaz calling on the International Olympic Committee and the South Korean Government to prevent the destruction of the forest Mount Gariwang is described as:
The site of the largest plantation of wangsasre trees, a hybrid Aspen-Birch, which is only found on the Korean Peninsula. It is also the home of rare yew trees and possibly the oldest oak in South Korea. Conservationists describe Mount Gariwang as a 'Super-A' class site. Historically Gariwang mountain has a very special meaning for the Korean people. For five centuries from the late 14th century during the Chosun dynasty the mountain was under state protection during which time it was a ‘royal, forbidden mountain’.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sun, 31/08/2014 - 17:14.
by Janine Ewen, originally published on June 25, 2014 in RioOnWatch.
The World Cup in Brazil has brought unprecedented criticism of the ways in which sporting mega-events are organized and scrutiny over who actually benefits. Though distinct in context and scale, the upcoming Commonwealth Games 2014 to be hosted in Scotland draws a comparison with the World Cup in Brazil and the way such events are politically charged. The Commonwealth Games 2014 (G2014), to be hosted by the city of Glasgow in Scotland has been described by Shona Robison, Scotland’s Minister for Sport and Equality, as having the “core value of equality, aiming to engage individuals from all backgrounds.” The event will begin on July 23, just ten days after the World Cup final in Brazil. Just a few days before the World Cup kicked off in São Paulo last week, President Dilma Rousseff hosted an exclusive dinner for journalists and other critics of the World Cup to promote the investment on infrastructure projects in Brazil and to dissolve uncertainty of FIFA’s presence in the twelve host cities. Despite the show of confidence, protests and intense international media coverage over the last year have exposed Brazil’s inequalities, corruption, misplaced public priorities and human rights violations to the world. Commonwealth Games host city Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland and third largest city in the UK, is also widely known for its political and social problems, with high crime, poverty, mortality, unemployment and overall deprivation rates. It was recently announced the UK’s sickest city. With evident social problems and increasing emphasis on the “legacy” as a justifying tool for mega-events, there is pressure for both Brazil and Scotland to achieve a sustainable legacy, but host “goals” extend beyond successfully realizing the events and legacy plans.
Submitted by Steve Dowding on Fri, 25/07/2014 - 17:30.
Oh what a lovely Legacy! The media are long gone but the scandalous treatment of the Manor Gardens Allotments Society (MGS) at the hands of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA), Waltham Forest Council and the London Legacy Development Corporation LLDC) continues.
As part of the deal stitched together to prevent the MGS’s return to the Queen Elizabeth Aftermath Olympic Park (QEOP) at Eton Manor following their temporary relocation to Marsh Lane Fields, now ludicrously named The Jubilee Park, a Section 106 agreement had to be drawn up by the three conspiring ‘authorities’. The purpose of this was to provide plots at the now permanent allotment site at Marsh Lane in lieu of those no longer to be provided at Eton Manor and to divide up the costs of creating a meadow in their place at Eton Manor.
The LVRPA voted this agreement through without telling anyone, including the MGS, in May of this year. The text of the document presented to the Executive Committee states:
It is understood some kind of ‘understanding’ was reached between the London Development Agency (LDA) and the MGS in 2007 to ensure that following the Games the MGS would return to a site allocated for allotments somewhere on QEOP’.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 09/07/2014 - 12:44.
When South Korea launched its bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics it was claimed Mount Gariwang was the only possible site for the downhill competition. However, a coalition of environmental groups, the Joint Committee for Stopping the Destruction of Gariwang Mountain, has recently discovered the Rules of the International Ski Federation (FIS-Ski) allow for a shorter track, under ‘exceptional circumstances’. In a letter to the FIS-Ski, see below, the Joint Committee asks for clarification of the rule and why this was not made known at the time.
These South Korean environmental groups consider they were misled when the Bid for Pyeongchang2018 was put forward and point out there is a viable alternative at a neighbouring ski resort at Yongpyong. They are now refusing to co-operate with the ‘recovery’ programme for the forest. The South Korean Olympic authorities have only just carried out an environmental assessment of the forest, which is laughable in itself given that this forest had been designated by the South Korean Forestry Service as site for the 'Protection of flora genes and forest Eco-systems'. The designation was changed when Pyeongchang was chosen to host the Winter Olympics to allow the site to be destroyed for the downhill event.
Whatever the alternatives, the proposal to cut down this virgin forest, home to the largest plantation of Wangsasure trees, a hybrid Aspen unique to the Korean peninsular, made a mockery of the IOC’s claim that the environment is its ‘third dimension’. It was always an outrage to sacrifice a forest of this quality for a few days of skiing.
Letter to the FIS
Joint Committee for Stopping the Destruction of Gariwang Mountain
71-16 Yulseok-ri, Wabue-eup, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
International Ski Federation
Blochstrasse 2; CH- 3653 Oberhofen / Thunersee
3rd April, 2014
To whom it may concern:
We, Joint Committee for Stopping the Destruction of Gariwang Mountain, is an umbrella group comprised of nature-protection civil organizations in Korea.
We have made efforts to prevent Korean government’s decision to build an Alpine downhill ski competition complex in one and only, the largest, the oldest and most diverse, taxus cuspidate habitat in Korea – Gariwang Mountain lying in both Jeongsun and Pyeongchang counties – from being fully realized. As you can see on the map below, the expected slope-construction site includes a vast area of Gariwang Mountain, which has long been designated by the State as ‘Protected Area for Forest Genetic Resource Conservation (the red circle)’.
But when the 2018 Winter Olympics was decided to be held in Pyeongchang in 2011, the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) completely ignored this most important fact and hurried into vote with the lawless, absolutely unforgivable ‘promise’ to build a new Alpine downhill ski competition venue in this very Gariwang Mountain.
We recently found out from your official website, particularly from the “particular rules for the different events” in “The International Ski Competition Rules (ICR) – Book IV Joint Regulations for Alpine Skiing”(web edition, July 2013), that in case of downhill competitions, the vertical drop of men’s courses for Olympic Winter Games is regulated from 800m to 1100m, and in exceptional cases, 750m (p.80).
We would like to receive your confirmation about this information. Is this correct? Does this mean that it would be alright to have the competitions unless the ski slope (the difference between the highest and the lowest points) go shorter than 750m?
If this is true, then it means a lot to us. Then it means that Gariwang Mountain is NOT the only available candidate for a new Alpine downhill ski competitions venue. Then it means we actually have many other pre-existing options around Pyongchang area, including the FIS-certified Yongpyong Ski Resort. Then it means that Mr. president of POCOG, Kim, Jinseon, ‘fooled’ the entire country claiming as if there was no other alternative than Gariwang Mountain for the new slope venue, as if we needed a new venue.
Upon receiving your confirmation, we are scheduled to organize our side’s actions to stop this monstrous ‘project’ being pushed forward not only by Gangwon Province and Korean government (that recently nudged Korea Forest Service to ‘lift’ Gariwang Mountain off the protection list), but also by POCOG and IOC, whether the latter has known about this or not.
Looking forward your swift reply,
On behalf of the
Joint Committee for Stopping the Destruction of Gariwang Mountain
About why Gariwang Mountain MUST BE PROTECTED no matter what
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Wed, 30/04/2014 - 14:11.
This article has been modified on receipt of further information.
London's failed Olympic Legacy creates strange bedfellows. It seems London2012's scandalous allotments' legacy, which has been totally ignored up to now by politicians and journalists, has scandalised former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, who has weighed in accusing the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority of breaking the promise made to the Manor Gardens Allotment Society.
In a letter dated 25th March 2014 sent to Dennis Hone, CEO of the LLDC, and copied to Shaun Dawson, CEO of the LVRPA, Martin Esom, CEO of Waltham Forest Council, and Phillip Lewis, Chair of the LLDC Planning Committee, she points out that the Manor Gardens Society 'co-operated' with London2012 following 'assurances' that 're-provision would be made within the Olympic Park'. This had resulted in a decision to create two sites at 'Eton Manor and the southern areas of the park'. However, the decision by the LLDC on 25th February 2014 to agree an application by Waltham Forest, supported by the LVRPA, to create 'community landscaping' in place of the allotments at Eton Manor means:
'the MSG members have had the commitment to them broken. It was the responsibility of the planning committee to ensure that the promise made is met.'
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 27/03/2014 - 13:04.
Before the London Olympics documents allegedly leaked, hacked, obtained from private "intelligence" company Stratfor showed that Games Monitor had attracted the interests of this intelligence gathering outfit, whose client list includes Olympic sponsor Dow Chemical. Having read Stratfor's intelligence report on Games Monitor and Julian Cheyne I would urge clients of Stratfor to think again before renewing contracts as the information in their report on Games Monitor and Julian Cheyne was inaccurate. The article below is from Democracy Now.
Submitted by Mike Wells on Sun, 09/03/2014 - 08:48.
The media has fallen over itself to provide sympathetic coverage of West Ham's sale of their Boleyn ground. The Guardian headlined their article saying West Ham ‘agree’ to sell the old home ground as if this was something they would have preferred not to do instead of pointing out that developing the Boleyn ground was the whole point of the move to the Aftermath Park.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 18/02/2014 - 21:18.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sat, 08/02/2014 - 02:09.
At 7.20am on Saturday 1 February I received an automated phone call, at home in Lower Clapton in Hackney, from the Environment Agency warning me about the high risk of flooding from the River Lee. At the same time I received this email from them:
Submitted by Martin Slavin on Sun, 02/02/2014 - 14:44.