THE timing couldn’t have been better.
Merewether’s Ocean Baths reopened on Thursday and on Friday, the Hunter was hit with an early blast of summer, with temperatures racing towards 40 degrees.
Maitland topped the region with 39.5 degrees, while it hit 38.5 degrees at the University of Newcastle, while Nobbys reached 36.8.
About $4 million was spent on the Merewether baths and for the crowds yesterday, it sounded like money well-spent.
This is how they did it.
The new concrete blocks were formed and poured onsite, each one weighing about 600kg. The council expects to have to repaint them every couple of years to keep the numbers fresh. Remember the old blocks? For a while speculation was rife they would be destroyed, but at the moment they’re in storage while the council figures out how might be re-used in the future. The number one block is at Newcastle Museum.
● A new pool, but the same old red and blue pavilion. Despite the protests of Newcastle Labor MP Sharon Claydon, the federal government declined to proceed with a $1m grant promised by the previous administration. It was given a coat of paint inside, but if recent soundings from council are to be believed it may be looking down the barrel of demolition in the future anyway.
● The two new pumps, manufactured in Australia, replace the previous pair in place since the 1970s. The ‘‘single-stage mixed-flow vertical-line shaft pumps’’ have double the flow capacity of the originals. Each pump is rated at about 270litres per second or 970cubic metres per hour. Boths pumps can serve both pools and flow into each pool is controlled by flap gates at the northern end. Council says the water will be cleaner due to the higher turnover rates of the pumps.
● The main northern promenade was widened from 2 metres to 6 metres, while the stairs were removed and replaced with ramps. The children’s pool was raised by 200mm and bleachers were added to its western side.
● The new ramps not only make it easier to get into the pool, they also help with maintenance. Previously maintenance crews had to dig out the ramp at the northern end and drive over the rocks, which could only be done at low tide.
● 1500 metres cubed of marine grade concrete, resistant to saltwater, plus reinforcing, and a glass fibre-reinforced polymer that doesn’t rust. Between 20 to 30 workers were on site on any given day.
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