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Visitors embrace revitalised Newcastle Ocean Baths

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It seems everyone loves the new-look Newcastle Ocean Baths.

Since the refurbished pool reopened to the public late last year, visitation to the iconic swimming venue has sky-rocketed.

It’s understood nearly 56,000 people have taken a dip in the past two months, almost five times higher than the corresponding period in 2021/22… before the multi-million-dollar upgrade.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully, City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath and City of Newcastle staff at the Newcastle Ocean Baths.

NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully, who joined Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes to unveil a plaque officially commemorating the delivery of stage one, said it was fantastic to see so many members of the community embracing the facility.

“Newcastle Ocean Baths represent the rich history of the region and this significant upgrade has increased safety and accessibility, returning it to its former glory,” he explained.

“Upgrades such as this are an important reminder of how great, quality public spaces can bring communities together and increase liveability.”

Cr Nelmes said City of Newcastle was committed to restoring and investing public infrastructure.

“The popularity of the Ocean Baths is testament to CN’s once-in-a-generation undertaking to re-establish the much-loved Newcastle icon,” she added.

“We worked closely with the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group and other stakeholders during the planning and design stages to ensure it met the needs of current and future users.

“The huge increase in swimmers using it since it reopened reflects the importance of this upgrade and the significantly-improved facilities we have delivered.

“The Newcastle Ocean Baths have played an important role in our city’s history for more than 100 years.

“And, their revitalisation will ensure they remain accessible to all Novocastrians for generations to come.”

Council’s acting executive director city infrastructure Robert Dudgeon stated work would continue, too.

“We’re currently progressing designs for stage two of the project, with principal design consultant Tonkin Zulaikha Greer preparing concepts for the upgrade of the pavilion buildings, including the heritage façade,” he said.

“We’ll continue to engage with the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group and the wider community as the designs are developed.

“We plan to share the concept designs and open a conversation with the community in the coming months.”

Accessibility improvements will again be a key consideration in the design of stage two, informed through consultation with residents and specialist consultants.

“During the development of the design for stage one we heard loud and clear from the community that improvements to accessibility needed to be prioritised,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“We will continue to listen to this feedback and refine our approach accordingly.

“As with any community facility, there are mixed requirements and preferences amongst users, which also need to be balanced with the operational requirements for managing and maintaining the facility.”

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