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SBD Global/June 22, 2012/OlympicsPrint All
Advisers to London Mayor Boris Johnson are "examining the costs" of tearing down the Olympic int'l broadcast center after the games, threatening British PM David Cameron’s dreams of an east London "Tech City," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The int'l broadcast center cost £295M ($463M). The move comes amid a "tender competition between consortiums bidding to take over the whole media complex on a 99-year lease." A London Assembly report warned in '10 that the complex "would have to be adapted" for use after the Games, and “a public contribution may be required." At least one bidder has indicated it is "willing to absorb the conversion costs privately." However, that may "affect the amount bidders are willing to pay" to lease the building (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/20).
London Mayor Boris Johnson is "scrambling" to prevent the first London-wide bus strike in 30 years "over a dispute about Olympic bonuses," according to Mark Odell of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Johnson has secured £8.3M ($13M) to fund a deal from the games’ organizers. Unite, which represents more than 20,000 bus drivers and other staff, "is planning to stage a 24-hour strike" on Friday. They are accusing London's 20 private bus companies, which operate the services on behalf of Transport for London, of "refusing to discuss a claim for a £500 ($785) bonus for working during the games." Johnson, who is also TfL Chair, said that he had secured the extra funds from the Olympic Delivery Authority "to prevent the action going ahead." But he "threatened to withdraw the offer if Unite did not call off the strike." Johnson said, “Cash is available but it is only available on the condition Londoners are not disrupted and that there is no strike" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/20). Also in London, Alan Jones reported that Unite official Peter Kavanagh said that time was a factor. Kavanagh said, "We cannot call the strike off until we are persuaded that TfL and the bus companies are serious about resolving this dispute. With just hours left every minute counts (INDEPENDENT, 6/21).
Eurostar, the official int'l rail provider of London 2012, announced details of two major partnerships with the Belgian and French National Paralympic Committee to carry athletes from both nations to and from the Games. The high-speed rail operator's fleet engineering team are working on a project at its depot in Stratford to create trains with full accessibility. Two Eurostar trains will undergo a "series of unique modifications designed to accommodate the requirements of the teams" (INSIDEWORLDPARASPORT.biz, 6/19).
SOCHI COMES TO LONDON: Russia. Sochi. Park. in London’s Kensington Gardens will be the biggest Russian event ever to be held in the U.K. Included will be Russia Park and Sochi Park -- two sites that will operate between July 26-Aug.12. Russia Park will be a summer festival-style park, spread over a 10,000 square meter area in Perks Field. It will be packed with Russian culture, cuisine and sports, including cameos by some of Russia's leading Olympians and performances by folk artists from all the regions of Russia. Sochi Park will be a "winter wonderland" in the middle of a London summer, providing a visitor experience that takes guests through Russia to Sochi, the next Olympic host city, via interactive digital experiences including a 4D chairlift ride up the Krasnodar mountains (Sochi 2014).
AN OLYMPICS WELCOME: Giant Olympic rings have been mounted at Heathrow, the host airport of the Games, to help provide a spectacular visual welcome to athletes and visitors during London 2012. The aluminum rings, which measure 12 metres in width, have been installed in terminal 5 int'l arrivals and will be seen by at least 2 million passengers travelling through Heathrow (London 2012).