BY JARROD MELMETH
Construction tenders are being sought for the first stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrades.
Newcastle Council says the first stage of the project will address safety, accessibility and water quality issues identified through community consultation and engineering advice.
The plans which have been finalised will retain the iconic bleacher seating, the boardwalk will be renewed and a new pump station will be installed.
The new pump station is poised to have the capacity to replace the water in the baths within six hours addressing water quality concerns which have been raised recently.
The Stage 1 final designs also include improvements for people with a disability or low mobility. The design includes ramp access and improved handrail support into the pool and the route from a vehicle at the entrance to the facility and down into the pool has also been considered.
Sand on the floor of the baths is also key feature of the upgrades which will continue to build up on the floor, the same as occurs today.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes says the community engagement had been key to finalising the designs for Stage 1, with feedback shaping elements such as the location of ramp access, replacement of art-deco circular stairs, and boardwalk material.
“The final design for Stage 1 captures what the community told us was important to them, and we’ve worked with our expert consultants to also ensure the design meets accessibility, safety and health requirements.
“This is a generational investment in the Newcastle Ocean Baths, which will celebrate its 100th birthday next year, which is why City of Newcastle have meticulously worked with both the community and experts to ensure what’s delivered meets the needs of current and future users,” Cr Nelmes said.
The council’s Acting Director of Infrastructure and Property, Joanne Rigby, says the project team would work with preferred tenderers to ensure overall disruption to Baths users was limited.
“Newcastle Ocean Baths is an important community asset enjoyed by a range of users ranging from tourists, families, lap swimmers and those committed to a daily dip.
“We’re asking tenderers to come up with a construction program that will see the least possible disruption to the thousands of people who enjoy Newcastle Ocean Baths every year,” Ms Rigby said.