Dorset told to 'get Games ready'

Blackpool Citizen: Anna-Maria Geare, left, and Angus Campbell, right, from DCC at the Riviera Hotel Anna-Maria Geare, left, and Angus Campbell, right, from DCC at the Riviera Hotel

FOUR Dorset organisations shared details of their Olympic preparations to encourage others to get ‘Games ready’.

Representatives from McDonalds, Universal Engineering, Job Centre Plus and Fish’n’Fritz were panellists at the final travel advice workshop run by London 2012 representatives and Open4Business.

Around 90 business representatives attended the event at The Riviera Hotel in Bowleaze Coveway.

Event chairman Anna-Maria Geare, president of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, urged businesses to ensure they were ‘Games ready’ by using the four Rs – Reduce time on the roads, Retime to avoid the busiest spectator arrival and departure times, Re-mode and cycle, walk or use public transport and Reroute to avoid the busiest areas.

Olympic festivities will kick-off with the torch relay to the borough on July 12 and 13 and resume with the official opening ceremony on Friday, July 27 and continue until the closing ceremony on Sunday, August 12.

Paul Haye, pictured left, of Fish’n’Fritz in Market Street, Weymouth, said: “We started our preparations seven years ago when we knew the sailing events were coming to Weymouth and Portland.

“I’ve incorporated an alarm system at my premises and each of my suppliers have got personal keys so they can deliver between midnight and 6am. We’ve also got back-up firms who can deliver if need be and I’ve bought spare parts in case of any machine breakdowns.”

Simon Ward said McDonald’s restaurants in Weymouth and Dorchester and the drive-through at the Jubilee Business Park, had researched the Sydney Olympics to get an idea of visitor numbers to the sailing events and hired 40 extra staff per restaurant in anticipation.

He said: “McDonald’s is currently open from 6am to 11pm, as of July 6 we’ll be opening for 24 hours every Friday and Saturday.”

Mr Ward added: “We’re buying a litter picking trolley in conjunction with the drive-through and hiring two full-time people to travel around the town centre and seafront 7am to 7pm during the Olympics.”

Adele Blaker of Weymouth’s Job Centre Plus said they had cleared out their bike shed for staff, and extended office opening hours so employees could cycle in.

Customers have been told that for the Olympic fortnight they do not need to visit the office and can access the same support by phone, email or text messages.

Mark Blunden, of Universal Engineering, said the Granby Industrial Estate company would open an hour earlier so staff could finish at 4.30pm and enjoy the festivities.

Try taster activities on the seafront

DURING the Olympics, the seafront will host the free public Live Site for up to 12,500 people a day, a sports arena for 1,000 people at a time to try taster activities, the ticketed Weymouth Bayside Festival and ICCI 360 arena.

Nothe Gardens will host up to 4,600 ticketed spectators a day.

During the Paralympic period, from August 29 to September 9, there will be no additional park and ride facilities, no live site, ticketed site or Bayside Festival, but the ICCI 360 arena will showcase the Paralympic sports channel by Channel 4 and provide a focal point for the Maritime Mix Cultural Olympiad by the Sea events.

The next Open4Business event on October 18 at the Hotel Riviera will discuss platforms for growth for the future and also focus on the lessons learned from hosting the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.

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