World-class new venue on track to be completed this year
The starting pool of the Olympic competition course has now been completed and the venue is on track to be completed later this year.
The White Water Canoe Centre in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, is being built by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and will host the Canoe Slalom events during the Olympic Games. Before and after 2012, the venue will be owned, funded and operated by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) as a sporting and leisure facility for canoeing and white-water rafting, as well as a major competition and training venue for elite events.
The completed start pool of the Olympic competition course has been visited by TeamGB canoeist Laura Blakeman, who won gold in the 2009 European Canoe Slalom Championships and gold in the K-1 team event at the 2009 World Championships, and who hopes to compete on the course in 2012. Laura Blakeman was joined by Charles Walker MP for Broxbourne, Shaun Dawson LVRPA Chief Executive and Lord Iveagh from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) to see the progress being made across the site.
TeamGB Canoeist Laura Blakeman said: 'It’s great to see the progress being made on this fantastic new canoeing venue, particularly the completion of the Olympic starting pool where I hope to compete on home soil in 2012. It was having local canoeing facilities that helped me in the early stages of my career so I’m delighted that after the excitement of the Games in 2012 this new venue will leave a lasting sporting legacy for a new generation of canoeists of all ages and abilities.'
ODA Chairman John Armitt said: 'Broxbourne will be a first-class venue and the completion of the Olympic starting pool gives us an exciting glimpse of where Olympians from around the world will be setting their sights on Gold in 2012. The good progress we are making across the site keeps us on track to have the venue completed later this year, delivering an early legacy of new sporting facilities for the East of England region well before the world’s best athletes arrive in 2012.'
Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said: 'It is exciting to see such good progress being made in the delivery of a facility that will provide a world-class venue for Games-time and an excellent facility for elite athlete and community usage after the Games, living up to our promise of leaving a lasting legacy for sport. I look forward to seeing the Broxbourne venue continue to take shape as we develop a challenging Olympic course for Canoe Slalom events and a community facility which will provide a new experience for beginners.'
Charles Walker MP said: 'It is hard to believe that the Games are only a little over two years away but this site proves that the dream is fast becoming a reality. The competition for medals will be fierce but our canoeists are in with a great chance of success, cheered on by local people and the rest of the Country. With a fantastic facility and home water advantage - Broxbourne and Hertfordshire are ready for winners this coming Olympics.'
Shaun Dawson, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Chief Executive said: 'We are delighted with progress of the Centre, the Olympic Delivery Authority and their contractors have delivered sterling work and we are looking forward to taking ownership when construction completes later this year.
'With just over a year to go until we open the Centre to the public – the only new London 2012 Olympic venue to open before the Games – we are currently finalising our programme of rafting and canoeing. The intermediate course will provide an excellent transition facility for newcomers to the sport and enable us to cater in legacy for competition and recreational users.
'The Centre is one of the only artificial courses in the world offering "improvers" white water alongside the Olympic course where our GB hopefuls and elite athletes will train. We have delivered over 100 presentations and tours raising awareness of the Centre with local schools and community groups and are excited about the extensive education opportunities we will offer.'
Charles Johnston, Sport England’s Property Director, said: 'Broxbourne is on course to benefit community paddlers before and after the arrival of the world’s best athletes for the 2012 Games. We’re pleased that our investment of National Lottery funding will help meet the long-standing need of the region’s paddlers for high-quality sporting opportunities from beginner to elite level.'
Lord Edward Iveagh from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) said: 'It is excellent to see the progress being made on the Broxbourne site. The development is not just about the creation of a world-class white water facility but it will also secure a much wider economic and social legacy for local people and businesses for years to come.'
Paul Owen, CEO of the British Canoe Union, said: 'It is fantastic to see the progress on site, nearly one year on and to see that the project is on schedule for a public opening in April 2011. The fact that the site will be open from next year gives members of the public the chance to experience the course before the London Games – a truly unique opportunity.
'We hope that the world-class facility combined with an "early" opening will help to raise the profile of what is already the UK’s most popular and fastest growing watersport.'
The ODA started construction work started on the Broxbourne venue in July 2009 and more than 100 people are now working on site. The canoe course embankments and the landscaped features of the venue are well progressed with the main structure of the venue facility building nearing completion. Concrete works will begin on the canoe courses in the spring.
The venue is being built on a 10 hectare site, covering an area the equivalent of 25 full-size football pitches, and will include:
An Olympic standard 300m competition course
A 160m intermediate/training course
A facility building and pumping house
- The water speed through the course will be in excess of 7mph in places
- A boat conveyor to transport participants to the course start in their rafts or canoes
- The intermediate course will help create an inclusive and comprehensive sports programme in legacy from novice paddler through to elite competitors
- Finish lake area of 10,000sq m (1 hectare / 2.5 acres)
- Containing a reception, café, changing rooms, admin offices, spectator viewing facilities, storage, and water pump/filtration plant
- With path and bridge networks throughout the venue to facilitate spectator viewing and access
The construction of the White Water Canoe Centre is due to be completed for Games training and testing in 2010-11 with some public use in 2011. During the Games, temporary seating will be installed around the venue for spectators. After the Games, the spectator seating will be removed, and the venue will be developed into the Broxbourne White Water Canoe Centre, creating a major leisure attraction for canoeing and white water rafting as well as a venue for future international competition and sports development opportunities.
The ODA also held a community day this weekend at the Holdbrook Estate in Waltham Cross close to the site of the White Water Canoe Centre. Local residents attending the event helped plant ten new trees around the Holdbrook Estate and also joined in with a range of activities including drumming and t-shirt painting.
Anyone keen to find out more information on the development of the White Water Canoe Centre venue and how it will be used before, after, or during the Games can visit a dedicated Information Point, located a 20 minute walk away from the site, at YHA Lee Valley in Cheshunt, part of the Lee Valley Regional Park.
Notes to Editors:
1. Images of work on the Broxbourne White Water Canoe Centre and the visit by Team GB Canoeist Laura Blakeman can be downloaded from http://mm.gettyimages.com/mm/nicePath/locog?nav=pr134292954
2. Images of the community day at the Holdbrook Estate in Waltham Cross are available from the ODA press office on 020 3 2012 700.
3. The construction of the Broxbourne White Water Canoe Centre is being carried out by Morrison Construction
4. The construction of the Broxbourne White Water Canoe Centre includes funding from Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and Sport England.
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For further information please contact the Olympic Delivery Authority Press Office on +44 (0)20 3 2012 700.
The construction of the venues and infrastructure of the London 2012 Games is funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Mayor of London and the London Development Agency.
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