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New contractor appointed to fix Bathers Way

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Following a major setback, the collapse of civil designer Lloyd Group, the Bathers Way project is set for completion under a new contractor.

The South Newcastle venture was one of hundreds across NSW and Victoria impacted when the Sydney-based company entered voluntary administration in March.

But, this week, City of Newcastle (CN) appointed Daracon Group to finish the much-needed upgrade.

Council’s executive manager project management office Robert Dudgeon admitted it had been a frustrating time over the past five months.

“We were disappointed by Lloyd Group’s delivery at Bathers Way South Newcastle and the disruption caused by the firm’s ultimate downfall earlier this year,” he said.

“We’ve seen the tale of two projects on our coastline.

“The Newcastle Ocean Baths’ upgrade was delivered by Daracon on time and on budget while, just 500m away down the beach, the Lloyd Group was well behind schedule. 

“Daracon was ranked second when the tender for this stage of Bathers Way was awarded in 2020.

“The Lloyd Group was selected primarily on the price competitiveness of their bid.  

“So, on the basis they are now unable to finish the project, CN can appoint Daracon to complete the work without having to go back out to tender.

“Doing this would delay the project by at least a further four months.”

Daracon has brought on additional staff to ensure both the Bathers Way upgrade and Newcastle Ocean Baths project are resourced appropriately and delivered successfully.

The latter’s on track to re-open for swimming in summer.

South Newcastle is planned for completion in May. 

The Bathers Way South Newcastle enhancement features a shared path from Shortland Esplanade to King Edward Park, improvements to parking, landscaping, lighting and accessibility, the installation of fitness equipment, shade, seating and viewing areas, as well as a new café/kiosk and accessible amenities.

The project also includes a $1.6 million upgrade to the skate park with wheelchair-accessible skate bowl and terrain park, which will complement the advanced-level facilities at Empire Park and provide a unique drawcard to promote ongoing visitation and activation of this area.

About $8.6 million has been invested, to date, into it, delivering new sea walls, expanded promenade and kiosk, as well as the preservation of the site’s 115-year-old stone arches in consultation with the National Trust. 

While the departure of the Lloyd Group and escalating labour and material costs have unavoidably impacted the overall budget and timing of the project, Mr Dudgeon said CN was committed to completing the upgrade as quickly and efficiently.

“At least this stage of the Bathers Way walk can be completed as soon as possible for the community to enjoy,” he explained.

“The estimated cost for Daracon to complete the project is just under $11.5 million, which reflects the increased cost of labour and materials experienced nationwide since Lloyd Group began on site in 2020.

“It also follows the work Daracon has already delivered to address defective works left by Lloyd Group.

“We know the community is keen to see this project completed, as are we.

“And, now, with Daracon already established on site, we look forward to seeing it progress as quickly as possible, with expectations of the lower promenade being re-opened prior to Christmas and the rest of the project to follow by May next year.”

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