Oh dear, oh dear…
London’s Olympic venues will be ready on time, the Government has promised – despite a warning that they are in danger of coming in late and over-budget.
American businessman Jack Lemley, who quit last month as the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority – the body in charge of creating the venues – said he had returned to his native Idaho because he feared his reputation would be ruined by the project.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) insisted that there was no danger that the venues would not be ready in time for the 2012 Games.
But with the Government’s £2.4 billion public funding package being re-examined by the DCMS and Treasury, officials acknowledged that planned costs would rise.
They’ve of course got one excuse immediately to hand;
Since the original budget was agreed, the Olympic Park has undergone a re-design while security requirements are also being revised in the light of the July 7 bomb attacks in London.
“This is a sensible and prudent measure to make sure that we get the very best value for the public-funding package,” a DCMS spokesman said.
Certainly seems to be best value there; you ask the DCMS for a quote and you get a parody of Gordon Brown thrown in free. However, Mr Lemley seems to have taken a different view of the problems:
Take the 80,000-seat athletic stadium for track-and-field events that Lemley was in charge of building. It’s supposed to be built so it can be downsized to a 25,000-seat stadium after the Olympics, he said. But local politicians near the stadium want to turn it into a football stadium […] after the Olympics, he said.”A football field is not compatible with an athletic stadium,” Lemley said. So officials at the national and local levels have been debating how that stadium should be built.
Just outside London, the government needs to take over 700 acres of land for Olympic facilities — a plot that contains 300 businesses. “Some of the people were happy to move, and some of them weren’t,” Lemley said. “In any event, there was a huge amount of local politics. Those are the kind of things that confuse and frustrate the process.
Lemley said he didn’t want his reputation of being able to deliver projects on time and on budget ruined. “I felt it was better to come home now than face that in five or six years,” he said.
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