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