Poneke Football Club under-8s are excited about RWC 2011 coming to Wellington
Wellington City Council's Derek Fry, Chair of the Regional Coordination Group, says this milestone brings our readiness into sharp focus.
"We've been working hard on a huge range of projects - everything from infrastructure to entertainment, from how to achieve maximum economic benefit to how we ensure locals roll out the welcome mat.
"We're confident we'll be ready."
The one year to go milestone will be celebrated around the country, with the focus on Wellington on Thursday morning at a business breakfast hosted by the Council and the Employers Chamber of Commerce Central.
Prime Minister Hon John Key will be the keynote speaker at the breakfast and we'll be launching the overall plans for Wellington's RWC 2011-related festival. New Zealand Post will also launch the official Rugby World Cup 2011 Webb Ellis Cup coin and official Rugby World Cup 2011 stamps.
You may have seen media reports of a flaming sign spelling out 'Wellington One Year To Go' on Freyberg beach. That's part of a national initiative to 'shout out' this milestone in a way that sums up each region - in our case, with lots of energy and 'can-do' spirit, against the backdrop of our stunning harbour. The footage will be released on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of visitors are expected in the Wellington region during RWC 2011 and the tournament could be worth $45 million to the local economy.
There will also be significant lasting benefits from RWC 2011: the reputation gained from hosting a successful tournament can only mean ongoing success for our tourism industry; the city will have a spectacular new sculpture created by Weta Workshop; and we have programmes in place to ensure all levels of rugby can benefit and grow.
Millions of dollars' worth of Council projects have been brought forward to ensure Wellington City is looking its best in time for the tournament. You may have read about some of these in recent Our Wellington page editions, and they include:
The upgrade of Waterloo Quay. This started a couple of weeks ago and will transform the pedestrian route between the cruise ship terminal and the city centre in time for RWC 2011.
The completion of the Manners Street bus lanes, creating a quicker, more direct public transport route through the city. Buses will be using the new route from November and we hope to start work on the lower Cuba Street shared space (for cars and pedestrians) early next year.
An upgrade for Midland Park. Work started last week on this tired but well-used public space, and will be completed in time for Christmas.
Other important projects for RWC 2011 include:
extra money for street cleaning during RWC 2011
the completion of the Indoor Community Sports Centre in Kilbirnie, which will be used as a RWC 2011 training venue
an upgrade of Newtown Park to meet IRB specifications for training facilities.
For more information about these projects and our region's preparations, check out the links below.