Novocastrians are being encouraged to enjoy the Newcastle Ocean Baths this summer before the iconic 1920s pool closes to undergo significant upgrades.

Newcastle Ocean Baths turns 100 next year.

City of Newcastle will award the upgrade contract on Tuesday to one of the six companies that submitted tenders for the Stage 1 works.

The six tenders were assessed against a range of criteria and a recommended construction program that would limit disruption and impact on baths users.

After a thorough tender process involving an independent external probity advisor, City of Newcastle Acting Director of Infrastructure and Property Joanne Rigby said the preferred tenderer had been determined.

“The preferred tenderer has significant experience in large construction projects, and their response to the tender demonstrated a thorough understanding of the construction requirements,” Rigby said.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Newcastle Ocean Baths would be open for one last summer before its closure in early 2022.

She said the community would be able to enjoy it throughout the upcoming holiday period in line with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Newcastle Ocean Baths turns 100 next year, and while this upgrade is well-needed, starting construction after this coming summer means locals who have been staying home and visitors itching to get back to Newcastle can enjoy the space over the holidays,” Cr Nelmes said.

She said the required upgrade to pools, lower promenades and the pumping system was significant, which meant construction would continue through to Autumn 2023.

“This summer, I encourage everyone to visit Newcastle Ocean Baths and enjoy this iconic local facility before it undergoes a generational upgrade and is returned improved for the community in 2023.”

Stage 1 of the project involves upgrades to the pools and lower promenade and critical safety, accessibility and water-quality issues.

The revitalisation includes a renewed boardwalk, a new pump station, and significant improvements for people with a disability or low mobility.

The undulating rock bottom of the pool will be capped with concrete to improve safety and water quality. Sand will continue to build upon the floor by the same processes as today.

The iconic bleacher seating will also be retained with other elements around the Ocean Baths that complement the historic features.

For more information visit the City of Newcastle website.

Hayley McMahon

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