Water is now flowing at the new white water canoe centre for the London 2012 Games. The progress keeps the venue on track to be completed later this year as the first brand new 2012 venue to be finished.
The Lee Valley White Water Centre is being built by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) near Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire and will host the canoe slalom events during the Olympic Games. Before and after 2012, the venue will be owned and managed 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 ODA started construction work on the venue in July 2009 and over 150 people are now working on site. Works on the new lake and competition courses have now been completed allowing water to begin flowing at the venue and testing work to begin on the canoe courses. Internal fit-out is also now underway on the two-storey facility building and landscaping works have started, keeping the venue on track to be finished later this year. A video blog showing the water flowing and construction progress at the venue can also now be viewed on the London 2012 website at http://www.london2012.com/videos/search.php?q=Lee&x=0&y=0
Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) Chairman John Armitt said: “With water flowing down the courses at the White Water Centre we are getting our first look at the facilities that the world’s best canoeists will compete on in 2012. With the venue due to be completed later this year, we are also on track to deliver an early sporting legacy for the East of England region well before the Games begin.”
Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said: “It’s really 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. These images of the water at the venue show how quickly the Lee Valley White Water Centre is taking shape. We are developing a challenging Olympic course for a world class Canoe Slalom event and a community facility which will provide a thrilling new experience for beginners."
Shaun Dawson, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority Chief Executive said: “This is thrilling progress. We will start to take bookings for the Lee Valley White Water Centre this autumn and from April 2011 thousands of rafters and canoeists will be able to enjoy this adrenalin charged Centre before the Olympians arrive. The training course will provide an excellent transition facility for newcomers to the sport and enable us to cater for both competition and recreational users in legacy. As the only brand new 2012 venue to open to the public ahead of the Games, the Centre is a very tangible piece of legacy from the Games. Along with the Lee Valley White Water Centre, in legacy the LVRPA will also own and manage the VeloPark and the Hockey and Tennis centres on the Olympic Park.”
Lord Edward Iveagh from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) said: “It is great to see water now coursing through what will be a fantastic leisure and sports venue for canoeists of all levels. EEDA has been instrumental in helping to create not just a world-class white water facility but also to secure a lasting economic and social legacy for local people and businesses for years to come.”
Paul Owen, Chief Executive, of the British Canoe Union said: “We are beginning to see a real transformation now that water is filling the course, the site no longer looks like a footprint of building works, it is really coming together as a world class Olympic canoeing venue. The progress also gives us a glimpse of the legacy it will leave behind for canoeists and we are all extremely excited about the benefits for the sport.”
Charles Johnston, Sport England’s Property Director, said: "With water now filling the course, we're really starting to see an early legacy of new sporting and leisure facilities from London 2012 taking shape. Our investment of National Lottery funding is going towards meeting a long-standing need for high-quality water sport facilities in the area. With the venue on track to open its doors for public use in 2011, I look forward to seeing community paddlers - from beginner to elite - take to the water both before the Games and long after the closing ceremony."
The Lee Valley White Water Centre is being built in the heart of the 10,000 acre Lee Valley Regional Park, 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 boat conveyor to transport participants to the course start in their rafts or canoes
A 160m intermediate/training course
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 10,000m2 (1 hectare / 2.5 acres)
A facility building and pumping house cotaining a reception, café, changing rooms, admin offices, spectator viewing facilities, storage, and water pump/filtration plant
Landscaping works wiith path and bridge networks throughout the venue to facilitate spectator viewing and access
The construction of the Lee Valley White Water Centre is due to be completed for Games training and testing in 2010-11 and will open to the public for rafting and canoeing in April 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 Lee Valley White Water 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.
Anyone keen to find out more information on the development of the venue and how it will be used before, after, or during the Games can go to www.gowhitewater.co.uk or 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.