Plans to reveal yet another statue.

The Camden New Journal yesterday uncovered plans to erect a statue of Christ the Redeemer on Primrose Hill. The statue will be a tribute to the one overlooking Rio de Janeiro, to celebrate passing on the torch (pun begrudgingly intended) to Brazil for 2016.

The Brazilian government would fund the project, and a planning consultancy based in London has been employed by Brazil’s tourist agency to hold a public meeting to display the designs before applications for planning permission are submitted.

The Camden-based design company See Me, Hear Me, Feel Me did not want to discuss the plans, and the Brazilian government was unavailable for comment, but Primrose Hill Lib Dem councillor Chris Naylor said he wasn’t sure a 30ft statue of Christ with his arms outstretched was quite what the area needed.

Other statues to celebrate the Olympics have been erected around Britain, often to the displeasure of residents. The ‘Jurassic Stones’ statue, by Richard Harris, has been greeted with horror by residents of Weymouth, Dorset. The Stones’ £335,000 bill pales in comparison to the £19m spent on Anish Kapoor’s ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’, on site in Stratford.

 

Many people question why so much money is being spent on statues to celebrate the Olympics, and whether it is appropriate in the current economic climate. The term ‘Legacy’ has always been used to describe the impact of mega-events like the Games: urban development, social, economic and cultural changes are words often thrown around in relation to the Legacy. However, the term has been re-appropriated by critics of the Games and become somewhat of a joke. The Legacy that does seem to be taking shape is symbolised in the statues cropping up around the country – abstracted, distorted, and expensive.

The real Olympic Legacy will be towering debt.

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Olympics – A PR opportunity for the shamefaced

The London Olympics has already suffered severe setbacks from activists who are threatening to disrupt the smooth functionaing of the mega event. Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Olympics Organising Committee has repeatedly turned down suggestions that he should get rid of some of the corporate sponsors. London which will be the first city to host the Olympic thrice is facing issues over sponsorship deals, transportation within the city, land grabbing and ceremonies expenditure.

The Olympics is an event of freedom, spirit, youth and energy; so why all these protests against an event of such big stature. The issue started when the organisers headed by Seb Coe agreed to massive sponsorship deals with corporates who have been responsible for heinous crimes in its history. BP, the most popular corporate culprit in the United States after its massive oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico has threatened more then 400 species and cost thousands of jobs. BP constantly delayed the cleaning of the oil spill and had to pay massive fines and compensations. American financial service giants VISA are engulfed in a controversy of their own. Any Olympic electronic financial transaction has to take place through a VISA debit or credit card. Many have raised their concern over the monopoly created by the organisers and have called for the boycott of the services offered by Visa.

The controversies that probably have managed to create a big dent on the mega event are the sponsorship deals with Dow Chemicals and ATOS. I have mentioned in my previous blog about the inhuman behavior of Union Carbide officials which is now owned by Dow Chemicals towards the people of Bhopal after a gas leak from a tank resulting in 3,000 lives in just one night. ATOS which is the private biggest health care service after the publicly owned NHS is under the limelight for its atrocious treatment of the disabled in the United Kingdom. Not many doubts were raised when athletes and activists have called for the Olympics to distance itself from ATOS or else they will try their best to boycott the Paralympic games. A similar threat has been given by some leading politicians and athletes from India to boycott the main event. Perhaps the biggest surprise to me was the deal with GE(General Electric). GE is one of the leading producers of nuclear energy in the world and not just in America, as it has helped set up nuclear capabilities in many other countries.

It is a farce that corporates who have performed with dubious moral ethics have been allowed to sponsor an event that symbolises unity. Spread the word against corporate greed.

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New Olympic legacy website: London-Rio: Olympic Cities

Mega Event Cities

London-Rio: Olympic Cities

“Cities across the globe are using mega events to catalyse urban development and social, economic and cultural change. Here we present insights and analysis of these events, examining their impact upon city-building and exploring their contribution to the design and shaping of place.

Our research is policy focused and practical. Our approach is focused upon the social impacts and legacies of mega events. We use interdisciplinary analysis to discover new ways of comparing and thinking about the mega event city.

We are interested in receiving comments on the site and suggestions for relevant material or links to be placed on it. The site will be dedicated primarily to housing academic work on the social legacies of mega events, particularly those referring to London 2012 or Rio 2016. We would also welcome links to our site being placed in sites addressing similar themes.”

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London 2012 marathon manager quits in row with LOCOG

blue wall

Dave Bedford, the manager of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has resigned from his post after a series of disagreements with the Olympics organising committee, LOCOG.

Bedford tendered his resignation on the 4th April, saying that the organisers were ‘inexperienced’ and had not listened to his advice. It is believed that Bedford was angered by the committee’s decision to move the marathon away from Tower Hamlets in east London to the Mall without consulting residents and over their plans to close the marathon route for a test run for ten hours on 30th May.

Over the past weeks, the press has reported a number of controversies involving LOCOG over the planning of the Olympics. In spite of this latest criticism, London Marathon have already confirmed that they will continue to work with the Committee to finalise preparations for the 2012 Olympics.

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Financial Times Reveals Welfare-to-Work Programme Chaos

OLYPHOTO - 270

The Welfare-to-Work Programme has been described as “set to fail” by Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham – the host borough for the 2012 London Olympics. In a fortnight, the winners of contracts are due to be announced, putting the unemployed and people on disability benefits back to work. However, Sir Robin believes that there is “a serious risk that some of the best prime providers may walk away”. Out of 11 bidders for the East and South London contract, 3 will be appointed in order to provide competition. Sir Robin said that he is yet to be convinced that ‘three prime contractors each delivering across 17 boroughs will do anything other than lead to confusion amongst job seekers and contractors’.

The rules the work programme has in place could themselves prevent people from taking one of the 100,000 jobs that the Olympics are meant to create. This is because providers will be paid the majority of their fee once they have managed to provide individuals with sustained work for a period of up to 2 years. However, given the short-term nature of most of the Olympic jobs on offer, the possibility of people taking jobs, becoming unemployed again and having to re-start the work programme a year later may prove discouraging.

Sir Robin believes that the government needs to ‘ensure that working in an Olympic job does not disadvantage the indivdual’ to avoid losing out on ‘the single greatest opportunity in Newham’s history to get our residents into work’.

To see the full article click Olympic jobless drive heads for ‘Chaos’

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London 2012 Equestrian Events

The Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events and the equestrian segment of the modern pentathlon are planned to take place at the Greenwich Royal Park in 2012

Whilst in the park, spectators will be able to enjoy the events on show against the backdrop of the National Maritime Museum.

Information : Planning Process

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) submitted a planning application for the Olympic event in Greenwich Park. The application was received on 30 November 2009. Consultation ended in January 2010.

The application was approved at a public meeting of the Planning Board meeting on 23 March.

Even though it may be exciting in some aspects having an Olympic event at the park, there have been concerns that an event as big as this could have adverse effects on the environmental aspects. A Q&A is avaliable from the London 2012 regarding this, but here are a few examples of how they plan to protect the park:

How long will it take to restore the Park?

“All of the structures we would be putting in for the Games are temporary and would be removed afterwards. We are clear in our planning application that all ground works related to the Games will be completed by November 2012. Alongside this reinstatement programme we are working with The Royal Parks to make improvements to the condition of the Park.

Following the Games, The Royal Parks will implement a substantial three-year Acid Grassland Restoration Programme to improve the extent of high quality grassland within the Park to leave a lasting legacy. This activity would be funded by LOCOG.”

How will you ensure that you won’t damage the Park?

“We take our responsibilities very seriously and our planning application shows the detailed work we have carried out on all aspects of our plans for Greenwich Park. We will make sure that we return the Park in the condition in which we receive it, and we have fully involved The Royal Parks and English Heritage in the development of all studies and plans.

The potential impacts of our plans have been thoroughly assessed as part of our Environmental Impact Assessment within our Planning Application. This assessment has concluded that it would be possible to do this without creating long term damage to the Park.

The Royal Parks is responsible for management of the Park and maintaining the biodiversity of the Park. They will continue to monitor and manage our activity in the Park to ensure there is no long term damage.”

What about the possible damage to tree roots?

“Arboricultural experts have worked with us to ensure the Cross Country course will not adversely affect any trees. We will continue to work with them, as well as with The Royal Parks, English Heritage and Natural England, to ensure any necessary protective measures are in place to protect trees and root areas while developing the course, and from any impact that might be caused by spectators.

As we have always maintained, no trees will be removed from the Park.

Some minor tree pruning is unavoidable but will be undertaken on a case by case basis, with input from an arboriculturist accustomed to working in historic landscapes and under the direction of The Royal Parks. Minor pruning of this nature takes place routinely as part of The Royal Parks’ normal maintenance programmes.”

Whether they stick the guidelines is another matter altogether but we can be certain that there will be uproar by the local community if any irreversible damage is caused.

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