Located 30 kilometres north of London’s Olympic Park, on the edge of the 1,000-acre River Lee Country Park, the centre was the first new London 2012 venue to be completed and features two separate courses: a 300-metre Olympic-standard competition course with a 5.5m descent, and a 160-metre intermediate/training course with a 1.6m descent.
Since it opened last year, it has attracted more than 130,000 visitors, with members of the public and local schoolchildren able to try white-water rafting along the same rapids that Olympic canoeists will use during the Games, providing an early legacy for the local community.
Shaun Dawson, the Chief Executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority – which will own and manage the venue once the Games have finished – believes that the success of the venue is due to the careful planning that took place before construction began in 2009.
“We have always had a clear vision for all our sports venues and at Lee Valley White Water Centre this vision has been realised as a vibrant, world-class sports venue combining facilities for the very best athletes with everything a family would want for a great day out,” he told Olympic.org.
“I believe that the lessons of Lee Valley White Water Centre provide an unrivalled blueprint for anyone who hopes to take a venue through from conception to successful operation. It has been an exercise in effective partnerships, long-term planning and commitment to a vision for a lasting, thriving legacy.”
As well as providing a facility for members of the public after the Games, the venue will also continue to stage elite-level sport, playing host to the World Canoe Slalom Championships in 2015.