Newcastle council has unveiled preliminary designs of its planned upgrade of Newcastle Ocean Baths ahead of a meeting with the project's community reference group today.
Images released yesterday show a revamped lower concourse featuring relocated access ramps, a central shade structure, tiered seating and a lifeguard patrol room.
The designs were developed in consultation with the community, project reference group "and with expert advice on heritage, safety and accessibility", the council said. Deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen said the plan retained the bleacher seating and revamped the poolside boardwalk.
"We're also planning accessibility improvements to ensure the ocean baths can be enjoyed by everyone in the community," he said.
The council's director infrastructure and property Ken Liddell said a new pump station would improve cleaning of the pools, which became an issue for a number of users over the summer.
The pools would retain a sand floor but the rock bottom would be "addressed".
Council staff will make a presentation about the designs at a meeting of the project's community reference group on Wednesday.
The lower concourse and pool work are the first stage of upgrades for the venue. Stage two will focus on the pavilion and upper concourse.
It will use the proceeds of civic building sales to fund the overhaul and has committed $9.5 million from the sale of the Fred Ash building.
Under a timeline released late last year, the council planned to begin work on the lower concourse in the first half of this year. It said on Tuesday work would begin in the second half of the year.
Friends of Newcastle Ocean Baths, a now incorporated community group formed out of concern when the council was seeking interest from the private sector, welcomed the progress.
Chair Jessica Miller said the group wanted to query some of the proposed design features with council before offering detailed opinion.
"We've got a list of questions and potential issues we want to raise," she said.
"There's a lot of design elements that are different to what is there at the moment.
"We have heritage experts and advice that we will be able to feed into if we think those suggestions are appropriate."