WEYMOUTH and Portland had been chosen to trial the ‘Olympic look and feel’ during three major Sailing events next year.

Jacqui Gisborne, the borough council’s regeneration and tourism officer, said the borough would be ‘dressed’ by LOCOG for the Sail for Gold in June and the Paralympic and Olympic Test events in July.

Ms Gisborne, who is a borough council representative for the Dorset Olympic Working Group of the 2012 Games, gave an update of plans at Portland Town Council marine and environment partnership meeting.

Ms Gisborne said the whole of the United Kingdom would be ‘dressed’ in July 2012 but the borough would get an early taster.

She said: “At the moment we don't know exactly what that look and feel will be – it could be banner flags, barrier covers, templates with the five Olympic rings on.

“We’ve pressed home with great vigour that it’s a borough and Portland needs to be included as far up to Easton.

“When they were looking to replace some of the lampposts we worked on the route through New Road to Easton so some of them had strength to take the loading.

“If they don't have the loading you can't even put a sign on them.”

Ms Gisborne said they were also determined to get the Olympic torch relay to go as far as Portland Bill and added: “It will be a real way of everyone locally experiencing the start of the Olympic Games.”

She said the steering group was keen to boost signage at Osprey Quay that highlights attractions such as shopping at Fortuneswell and Easton, Portland Bill and Portland Castle. She added: “We don’t have a magic wand and everyone’s budget is decreasing but between us all there’s a will and a want to work together.”

The meeting was told work was underway to secure financial support for live screens at viewing areas on Weymouth Beach and at the Old Engine Shed, East Weares, Portland and that cameras on competitors’ boats would enhance the spectator experience.

Mr Gisborne said other positives involved the Olympic Village, an increased national media attention and steps by the tourism industry to make the borough more accessible to disabled people.

The meeting was told that permanent improvements included the Relief Road, highways improvements, signs in the borough to identify car parks spaces, regularly updated signs on bus stops and benefits in the public transport system, particularly with buses.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Gisborne added: “The Olympics is the most amazing thing that could’ve happened to this area.

“There’s a lot going on to try and ensure that the borough and local businesses do benefit as much as possible, not only at the Games but in the lead up and after.”


Sail for Gold Regatta: June 5-11 2011

International Federation for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) Worlds: July 1-8 2011

Olympic Test Event: July 31-August 13 2011

Sail for Gold Regatta: June 10-16 2012

Olympic Village opens July 15 2012

Olympics Games opening event July 27 2012

Olympic sailing events: July 29-August 11 2012

Paralympic Games opening event August 29 2012

Paralympic sailing events: September 1-9 2012