In just over 48 hours time Tower Hamlets will welcome the world. After 7 years of planning the final touches are being put for the greatest show on earth – the 2012 Olympic Games.
On Friday I joined with Lord Coe, London Mayor Boris Johnson and thousands others to watch the Royal Marines abseil into the Tower of London with the Olympic flame securely attached! The excitement was palpable and residents came out in force to line the streets along the route and cheer on local torch bearers.
Last week also saw the launch of the 2012 Curry Capital to mark the official launch of Brick Lane as the Curry Capital for the Games. Brick Lane was transformed into a dynamic street festival with entertainment and culinary demonstrations. It was wonderful to see so many people come out to enjoy the curry cook-off, entertainment and record breaking attempt to build the world’s tallest poppadum tower!
The excitement and festivities during the Games will also come with its challenges and some level of disruption. The traffic measures imposed in Tower Hamlets and across London by TfL and Locog will mean some level of disruption for residents and businesses. Key routes into and within the borough have been designated as Games Lanes operating from 6am to midnight every day, starting from today.
I urge residents and businesses to visit the Council, TfL and Locog website for details and updates. My officers and I are working hard to ensure that any disruption to residents and businesses are kept to a minimum. Last week I wrote to the Commissioner for TfL, Peter Hendy regarding the level of engagement with businesses on Olympic Transport issues and we are lobbying at highest level within TfL and Locog to ensure concerns of our residents are heard.
Finally, month of Ramadan is upon us again. It is a time for contemplation and generosity and it is also a time for us to be compassionate and thoughtful towards others.
In Tower Hamlets, where we pride ourselves on our inclusiveness and unity in diversity, know that these are values which are important to us all. This will be especially true as we welcome visitors from across the world for the Games.