Community invited to have their say on final stage of upgraded Newcastle Ocean Baths

City of Newcastle has unveiled a vision for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade, which preserves the heritage of the facility while ensuring it is fit-for-purpose for future generations.

The concept plan incorporates the revitalisation of the pavilion buildings including the Art Deco façade, while also enhancing the upper promenade and surrounding areas.

A render for the Concept Plan for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.A render for the Concept Plan for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle is inviting the community to have their say as it continues to progress this important revitalisation project.

“City of Newcastle is committed to this once-in-a-generation undertaking to restore the much-loved Newcastle icon,” Cr Nelmes said.

“The upgraded pool and promenade have been overwhelmingly embraced by the community since being reopened last summer.

“I’m thrilled to now share designs for the final stage of the project, which celebrate the unique character of the Newcastle Ocean Baths while ensuring the building and surrounds get a much needed upgrade to ensure they can live on for another 100 years.”

The concept plan includes upgraded pedestrian access from Shortland Esplanade to the front of the building, where visitors can appreciate its historic Art Deco façade before making their way through to the upper promenade.

An expanded kiosk and new community spaces will be incorporated into the southern wing of the building, while the northern end will feature inclusive changerooms that cater for all members of the community, including accessible amenities and a ‘Changing Places’ facility. 

New shade structures and seating will be installed overlooking the adjoining Canoe Pool, with informal terraces offering additional spaces for people to sit and relax. 

A render for the Concept Plan for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.A render for the Concept Plan for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.

Prepared by highly regarded Principal Design Consultant Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, the concept plan was informed by community feedback earlier this year and industry leading heritage expertise, with input from environment, engineering and architecture professionals.

Executive Manager Project Management Office, Robert Dudgeon said City of Newcastle will continue to engage with the community as planning progresses for the future of this much-loved public facility.

“The intention is to deliver a facility that welcomes all visitors in an accessible and inclusive way, is sensitive to the site’s heritage, and resilient to coastal inundation and predicted sea level rise,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“The concept has been designed and informed by community feedback, combined with best practice, and has culminated in a collaborative outcome that ensures the character and usage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths is enhanced.  

“On Monday we shared with the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group the concept plan, which is the final step before the development of the detailed design.”

City of Newcastle is also working with Heritage NSW as it continues its assessment of the historic site for potential inclusion on the State Heritage Register.

“We remain committed to respecting and celebrating the cultural heritage of this much-loved facility and are working with Heritage NSW throughout this nomination process,” Mr Dudgeon said.

Community members can learn more about the concept plan and provide feedback online until 5 August 2024.

In-person ‘We Love Our Coast’ information sessions will also be held throughout the consultation period, which will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about a range of coastal projects being delivered by City of Newcastle. 

“We know the community loves Newcastle’s coastline, and given the range of projects and strategies we are delivering along the city’s coastline we’re taking the opportunity to open up the conversation with all members of the community,” Cr Nelmes said.

“The ‘We Love Our Coast’ program brings these conversations together and we really encourage the community to come and speak with us during this time.”

Visit City of Newcastle’s We Love Our Coast Have Your Say page for more details.

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