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Swimmers to Return to Newcastle Ocean Baths

Cr Elizabeth Adamczyk, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Cr Margaret Wood, City of Newcastle staff, Daracon staff and Community Reference Group members get a sneak peek of the refurbished Newcastle Ocean Baths.

Christmas will come early for swimmers keen to dive back into the upgraded Newcastle Ocean Baths, with the pool set to reopen on 21 December.


Members of the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group were given a sneak peek of the refurbishments to the much-loved facility today, ahead of the planned return to swimming next week.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes invited the community to come together to celebrate this project milestone with a morning swim event from 7.30am on Thursday, with music, free coffee and the opportunity to capture a Summer Santa photo on the newly restored bleacher seating.

"I am pleased to see this important project progress and to have Novocastrians back in the baths this summer," Cr Nelmes said.

"Growing up in Newcastle I spent many summers forming happy childhood memories at the ocean baths. This upgrade will ensure generations of Novocastrians will be able to create their own special memories at this popular community facility, starting with our opening swim event next Thursday.”

City of Newcastle (CN) Executive Manager Project Management Office, Robert Dudgeon said that the site tour recognised the time and energy the Community Reference Group has invested into shaping the upgrade over a number of years.

"Today we were able to demonstrate the significant work that has gone into the upgrade of the pool and promenade areas ahead of the pool being reopened,” Mr Dudgeon said.

"We have undertaken a period of testing and commissioning for the new pump system over recent weeks, and with that process nearing completion, our contractor will be applying the finishing touches to the pool and surrounding areas before we welcome the community back for swimming."

Construction will continue at the southern end of the site, with minor works near the Canoe Pool set to be complete in early 2024.

The site's existing amenities and change facilities will be open for use in line with the return to swimming, with Principal Design Consultant Tonkin Zulaikha Greer working to prepare concepts for the future upgrade of the pavilion buildings, including the heritage façade.

"Appointment of the Principal Design Consultant in September was an important step for the project, bringing together feedback from the community and the findings of technical studies to develop more detailed options for the upgraded pavilion buildings," Mr Dudgeon said.

"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.

"Exploring options for community space at the Baths site is part of CN's vision of providing an equitably distributed, sustainably managed and inclusive network of public places and spaces, as outlined in the Newcastle 2030 Community Strategic Plan.

“We will continue to engage with the Newcastle Ocean Baths Community Reference Group and the wider community throughout this process, as the designs are developed.”

The $9.5 million recovered from the sale of City of Newcastle's Fred Ash building is helping fund the Newcastle Ocean Baths stage one upgrade along with $3 million in funding from the NSW Government’s Public Spaces Legacy Program.

The NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program is an investment in high quality public open space and delivers vital infrastructure for communities to love the place they live. 


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