Issue date: 14th October 2012
Following enquiries by IWA, Canal & River Trust has held further discussions with London Legacy Development Corporation to see whether a boat procession would be feasible in 2013.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will open in two phases over the next 18 months or so. The North Park (around the River Lea, including the Velo Park and wetlands) will begin to open in phases to the public from 27th July 2013. This area of land and waterway is not owned by CRT. The South Park (the area around the Olympic Stadium, Orbit and Aquatic Centre) will open in Spring 2014. From the time that LLDC inherits the Park in late November this year much of it will return to a construction site as temporary infrastructure is removed, new buildings are erected and the Parklands are re-landscaped. Prior to transformation, the responsibility for site security and safety will reside with the principle contractors. The CRT-owned waterways within the Olympic Park are currently leased to LLDC until December 2014 so that the Corporation can complete the transformation as quickly and efficiently as is practically possible. The land between the Velo Park and the South Park will therefore remain with the contractor until 2014 which will of course include the towpaths and other vantage viewing areas to which there will be no public access.
LLDC is very keen to give people an opportunity to see the Park during this intervening period. Bus and boat tours are currently being planned to start in December and other initiatives called 'dents in the fence' are being programmed to give people views of the Park from the outside before the Park is formally unveiled to the public in 2013 and 2014.
During the recent 'Open House' weekend staged two weeks' ago, free boat trips were arranged for the public between Three Mills and Hackney Wick to which 500 people booked. These trips were extremely popular (and we hear could've been booked 10 times over) as they gave people an opportunity to see the Olympic Park from the western boundary.
The new Hackney Marshes Centre, recently built by Hackney Council, lies a short distance from the navigation and, with its function room and bar, could prove an ideal venue for a boaters get together. The website www.hackney.gov.uk/hackney-marshes-centre.htm provides more information.