Plans For Newcastle Ocean Baths Pavilion Unveiled

Newcastle Council has unveiled its vision for the final stage of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade.

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

An expanded kiosk and 140m2 of new indoor community space will be housed in the northern wing of the building, while at the opposite end new shade structures and seating will be installed overlooking the Canoe Pool, with informal terraces offering additional spaces for people to sit and relax.

The northern building will also feature new covered changerooms, which will be accessible and include a ‘Changing Places’ facility.

Covered changerooms have been a point of contention among some Baths users since plans for the project were first floated, with members of the Friends of Newcastle Ocean Baths community group lobbying for the open-air design to be maintained.

The reasoning for the addition of a roof included in the project information on the Council’s website states the new design “maintains best practice design principles in modern design for safety, maintenance and sustainability delivering a solution that prioritises open-air amenity through natural ventilation and maximised natural lighting.”

“The inclusion of a roof on the amenities building directly aligns with international, best practice guidelines for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)… through minimising the opportunity to commit a crime, increasing the likelihood of being caught and controlling access across the site.”

“The facility’s new roof will also protect the much-loved façade for many years to come, sheltering the structure from the harsh coastal environment.”

Pedestrian access from Shortland Esplanade to the front of the building is also set to be reviewed.

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.”

Prepared by 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.

Newcastle Council’s Executive Manager Project Management Office, Robert Dudgeon said engagement with the community would continue as planning progresses for the future of the 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.