Work on the much-loved Newcastle Ocean Baths pool upgrade is set to begin in the new year, according to council.
Following an official tender process, with GHD being named as the principal design consultant, Stage 1 will soon get underway.
The slated transformation is a staged project that will begin with the restoration of the pool and its promenades, while consultation and assessments continue for the upper concourse and pavilion.
City of Newcastle has committed to fully-fund the renewal of the baths, with the $9.5 million proceeds from the sale of three council-owned buildings, including the Frederick Ash Building, directed towards the venture.
Additional money will also come from City of Newcastle.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said GHD was primed to complete final site investigations before developing initial options and concept designs for the pools and promenade for community feedback.
“Engagement with the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group and broader public is an important aspect of revitalising this iconic community asset,” she explained.
“Our discussions to date have provided an insight into what the community values most about the pools, such as retaining the iconic boardwalk and improving accessibility.
“This feedback will help inform the upcoming design process, with initial concepts to be provided to the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group for feedback.
“This will be followed by a detailed design process, which is expected to be completed by April 2021, with construction works scheduled to begin in the new financial year following further community consultation.”
Stage 2 of the project will address the renewal of the pavilions and surrounding upper level public domain space.
A multi-criteria needs analysis is expected to be undertaken on the site to guide conversations with the community and ensure the upgrade meets the needs of future generations.
“Newcastle Ocean Baths is treasured by our community, which is why we are moving ahead with the upgrades to the pools while continuing conversations with residents to ensure they have input into the improvements to the iconic pavilions,” Cr Nelmes said.
“Prioritising a refurbishment of the pools and their surrounds will allow us to improve the site’s safety and accessibility while ensuring adequate time to work with the community on a plan for the pavilion that respects the heritage and integrity of the site.”