Long-awaited revitalisation of the Newcastle Ocean Baths will kick off next month.
Stage one works will begin on March 14, and are set to improve the safety, water quality and accessibility of the much-loved coastal icon.
The $14.5m first phase will focus on the pools, lower promenade and pump system.
The Ocean Baths will be closed for the duration of the work, which is expected to be completed by mid-2023.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle had worked to limit the impact just one summer season.
“Staff have worked closely with the contractor on a plan to limit disruption to users, including keeping the Baths open through this current summer season and aiming to open prior to summer 2023,” Cr Nelmes said.
It is a big milestone for the hundred year old Ocean Baths, and it’s hoped the upgrades will keep the site in good condition for another century.
“We are committed to ensuring this upgrade meets the needs of current and future users and look forward to this project delivering significantly improved facilities, which can be enjoyed for the community for years to come,” Cr Nelmes said.
The iconic bleacher seating will be retained, the boardwalk will be renewed, and a new pump system will be installed that can replace the water of the baths within six hours, significantly improving water quality.
While the undulating rock bottom of the pool will be capped with concrete to ensure walk based activities can continue safely, the sand will continue to build up on the floor as it washes into the pool with the ocean waves. Council will also consider manually replacing fresh sand in the pool following its annual clean depending on forecast swell and weather conditions.
Significant improvements will also be made to accessibility at the Ocean Baths for people with a disability or low mobility, including ramp access and improved handrail support into the pool.
Community consultation on the second stage of the upgrade is expected to start this year and will focus on the pavilion and surrounding public areas.