This new design, along with others, was showcased at an event at the Hyde Park Lido Café last week and was very well received by the crowd of stakeholders and media.
When we spoke to Adrian Warner, the Olympics Correspondent from BBC London, about the launch earlier in the week he couldn’t wait to tell the story from the river. So the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), with British Waterways took the BBC out for an hour to show them what the waterways look like now, and to describe how it will all change by 2012.
Billy the Skipper and Richard Rutter from British Waterways picked us up in a boat on the river at Three Mills and Adrian, cameraman Dave, John Hopkins, the ODA’s Parklands expert and I headed off along the Lea Navigation.
As you travel along the canal, at snail’s pace so you don’t disturb the wildlife, you really get a sense of how much the water is used. We saw otter ramps to help otters get onto the bank (but sadly no otters this time!), plenty of ducks, dredgers out cleaning the canal, fish, narrow boats, cyclists and walkers, as well as construction workers on the many new developments springing up along the canal. Here is a picture of the otter ramp:
We even saw workers on the Olympic Park hanging about a hundred feet off the ground working on the de-energised pylons, preparing to dismantle the 52 pylons that have been part of the landscape for generations, preventing regeneration and development. They will all be down by the end of the year, and I cannot wait to see the amazing difference it will make to the Park.
The construction workers preparing the pylons:
John Hopkins is the ODA Project Sponsor for Parklands and Public Realm, which basically means he is tasked with managing the creation of the Parklands within the Olympic Park. To give you an idea of the scale, the Parklands the ODA are creating will be the same size as St James’ Park – and the beautiful gardens, flowers, wetlands and habitat will all be built on cleaned-up industrial land.
John being interviewed by Adrian:
It was lovely to spend an hour on the water, and I look forward to seeing the transformation happen over the next three and a half years.