The ODA has developed the construction plans in close consultation with Natural England to avoid disrupting the local environment and wildlife. The initial set-up on site for the enhancement works took place in January but the start of construction was deliberately held back and programmed to start now to avoid disrupting the nesting season of over-wintering birds around the local coastline.
With work now underway and the enhanced facilities due to be completed by the end of 2008, Weymouth and Portland is on track to be the first venue ready for the 2012 Games, delivering an early legacy of world-class facilities for elite athletes and the local community to use.
ODA Chief Executive David HIGGINS and Chief Executive of the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) Paul DEIGHTON visited the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on 2 May to have a tour of the existing facilities and to visit the construction site for the enhanced facilities.
ODA Chief Executive HIGGINS, said: "The start of construction on the first venue for 2012 is an important step forwards and it is significant we have hit this major milestone in Weymouth and Portland, showing 2012 will be a nationwide Games with sporting and economic benefits spread around the country.
"With work due to be completed by the end of 2008, Weymouth & Portland will be one of the first venues ready for 2012 keeping us on track to deliver an early legacy of world-class facilities for elite athletes and the local community to use well ahead of 2012."
DEIGHTON added, "This scheme will transform Weymouth and Portland from an existing top class venue into a world class training and competition venue equipped to stage further major international sailing events and competitions after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The enhancements will also provide new opportunities and facilities to enable people from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities to experience the thrill of sailing. This will leave a legacy of elite and recreational sailing for future generations."
The ODA's enhancement works at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy involve reclaiming 18,000m2 of land in front of the venue using 80,000 tonnes of local Portland stone. Approximately 250m of slipways and ramps will then be constructed, together with a new pier offering two yacht lifting cranes. In front of the pier, a new pontoon will be constructed with 70 berths and the enhanced facilities will be protected by a 200m breakwater.
Jane HENDERSON, Chief Executive of the South West RDA which bought the Osprey Quay site in 2000, said, "The 2012 Games is estimated to bring £1.7 billion to the South West economy. Helping to achieve that is the regeneration of Osprey Quay as a global centre for sailing excellence and a magnet for leisure and marine industries. It will leave a lasting legacy long after 2012 and help unlock the area's business potential."
In recognition of the environmental aspects of the design of stage of the ODA's enhancement works, the project has been awarded the CEEQUAL Excellent Award (Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award Scheme). CEEQUAL assesses the environmental quality of civil engineering projects - a civil engineering equivalent to the BREEAM awards for buildings. The CEEQUAL Excellent Award was today presented to ODA Chief Executive by CEEQUAL Chairman Eric Hughes.
ISAF Olympic Games microsite - www.sailing.org/olympics