The Newcastle Ocean Baths are one step closer to their makeover after the City of Newcastle called for tenders to restore the sand-bottomed pools and its promenades.
The baths upgrade is a staged project, with the first piece of work being to restore the pools and lower concourse, while consultation and assessments continue for the upper concourse and pavilion.
Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the pools upgrade had been guided by feedback from the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group (CRG) and broader public, with construction expected to start in mid-2021.
“November marks Newcastle Ocean Baths’ 98th anniversary, and the signs of ageing are really showing around her pools and promenades,” Cr Clausen said.
“Deterioration around the pools has become impossible to miss, with sections of the lower promenade literally falling into the ocean in recent storms.
“We’ve had some great feedback from the community about what’s important to them as we undertake these essential upgrades to Newcastle Ocean Baths’ pools, like retaining the iconic boardwalk, maintaining the historic sand bottom, and improving accessibility.”
Cr Clausen added that the council would be making some practical improvements to the pools to ensure staff can safely access them for maintenance while ensuring that historic elements remain in place.
Acting Chief Executive Ken Liddell said the CRG has also recommended a multi-criteria needs analysis be undertaken on the site to guide conversations with the community and to ensure the upgrade delivered meets the needs of future generations.
“Based on this feedback, and the importance of an informed, successful co-design process with the CRG for the Stage 2 pavilions restoration, we will continue investigations such as the needs analysis and more detailed condition assessments prior to resuming face-to-face engagement on Stage 2 when it’s safe to do so,” Mr Liddell said.
City of Newcastle has committed to funding the renewal of Newcastle Ocean Baths in full and will direct the $9.5 million recovered from the Fred Ash building sale to the project.
The tender will be available on City of Newcastle’s website from tomorrow.