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The Wharf - - Focus -

es­cap­ing the ini­tial debt with which the Or­bit, and Mr Gold­stone were sad­dled.

Assem­bly mem­ber Andrew Dis­more, a re­lent­less critic, said: “How­ever we look at it, it’s go­ing to take an aw­ful long time to pay off this debt and I just think it was a folly to start with. Boris’ van­ity project.

“Ob­vi­ously lots of peo­ple are go­ing to use it in the first year for nov­elty value but the ques­tion is whether the 200,000 a year fig­ure go­ing to be sus­tain­able in the long term.”

Chair­man Navin Shah said: “What value it has in terms of legacy? It’s a pretty hideous struc­ture that we are try­ing to make work. It was mak­ing losses then we added a slide – but we are still talk­ing about re­pay­ments.”

Mem­ber Tony Devenish saw it as symp­to­matic of the en­tire project. “If you are run­ning a re­gen­er­a­tion project with many strands and you have got one bit that doesn’t have to stack up fi­nan­cially it does make me wor­ried whether any­thing else has to stack up. That’s how you get a whole load of white ele­phants – you get one and they mul­ti­ply.”

Mr Gold­stone fired back: “I don’t be­lieve we have any white ele­phants. The vis­i­tor num­bers of the Or­bit are al­ready 50% over what they were for the whole of the last year.

“It has gen­uinely helped bring more peo­ple to the park, those who want to have a swim but want to cre­ate a day out, there’s other things to do and it has been very pop­u­lar.

“Whether in­di­vid­u­ally we like the look of it or whether we’d like to go down the slide is not the point. Lots and lots of peo­ple do.

“And it’s part of a pack­age that brings a lot of peo­ple to the area and that sup­ports jobs and hous­ing and cre­at­ing long-term sus­tain­able re­gen­er­a­tion on what was derelict and waste land pre­vi­ously.”

The Olympic Park on a cold win­ter morn­ing, with the Or­bit in the back­ground

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