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Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Thursday, 14 October 2010 14:35 UK
Construction of Olympic canoeing venue nears completion
The pavilion at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Broxbourne
The Lee Valley White Water Centre is due to open to the public in spring 2011

Building work on the Lee Valley White Water Centre on the Essex/Hertforshire border that will be used for the 2012 Olympic Games is nearing completion.

The Broxbourne venue, which will have a 300-metre Olympic standard course, is due to open to the public next spring.

Stephen Bromberg, from the Lee Valley Regional Park, who will run the centre, said construction was nearing an end.

"We're probably only a few weeks away from completion, it's just a couple of months that's all," he said.

The estimated date of completion is likely to be in late November or early December, at which point it will be handed over from the Olympic Delivery Authority to the Lee Valley Regional Park.

Further work will then prepare the centre before it is opened to the public in April.

In future years we're expecting about 70,000 people a year to pay to use it.
Stephen Bromberg, Lee Valley Regional Park

"The pavilion building is unrecognisable from just a couple of months ago," said Stephen.

"The courses are now very clear, there's water in the lake, water has flown down the courses, the pumps have been tested, the floodlights have been put in. It's very, very advanced now."

The centre will be the only purpose-built Olympic venue to be used by the public before the games.

"It will probably be one of the few times you can say you've beaten an Olympian in the fact you'll be going down the course before them and that is an absolutely unique and thrilling prospect," said Stephen.

"There are times set aside for overseas teams to come, as well as Team GB.

"So from next summer you will be seeing different teams from around the world using this centre."

With the next phase of the white water centre on the horizon, focus has already shifted to how the venue will operate and preparation for staging the Olympic canoeing.

The starting pool at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Broxbourne
The start lake is the equivalent to two football pitches in size

Around 12,000 spectators are expected at the venue each day of the games.

Rather than being a major headache, Stephen believed it was something the venue and the local area needed to make the most from.

"For 2011, we're expecting 30,000 paying people to come rafting and canoeing here, plus all the people they want to bring as spectators," he said.

"In future years we're expecting about 70,000 people a year to pay to use it.

"So there's a lot of people and a lot of money coming into this area and I think people from Waltham Abbey and Waltham Cross see this as a chance to put this part of the country on the map."

When finished, the 10 hectare site will include a 300-metre Olympic and 160m intermediate course, a facilities building and viewing areas.

As well as canoeing and kayaking, the venue will also be able to host white water rafting.

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