Swimmers are a step closer to being back in the water at the Newcastle Ocean Baths, with the testing and commissioning of the newly installed pump system about to kick off.
City of Newcastle Council says water will be pumped back into the Baths during the two-week process, before the pool is emptied for the final touches to be completed.
Council’s Executive Manager Project Management Office, Robert Dudgeon said this final stage of testing was a critical step toward reopening the baths for swimmers.
“The testing that commences today will run for approximately two weeks to confirm everything is working as it should when the baths are filled with water from the ocean, and also to provide training opportunities for our staff,” Mr Dudgeon said.
“Once the testing phase is complete, we will drain the pool so that the finishing touches can be applied, and we will then re-fill the pool ahead of the recommencement of swimming.
“We know the community are excited to return to the pool, and it’s really important that we complete the required testing to ensure the pool is safe and ready for swimming.”
Deputy Lord Mayor, Declan Clausen said he looked forward to the Baths reopening soon.
“The Newcastle Ocean Baths have been a treasured part of our community for the past 100 years, so it’s exciting to have reached this milestone in their revitalisation,” Cr Clausen said.
“We anticipate swimming will be given the green light sometime next month and should be in a position to announce the reopening date in the coming weeks.”
The new pump system was recently installed in a purpose-built wet well next to the old pumphouse structure.
The pumps have the capacity to completely replace the water in the baths within six hours. This is a significant improvement on the old system, which was dependent on tidal movement to refill the baths after cleaning.
A series of preliminary tests were conducted on the new system with the specialised manufacturer in Europe, ahead of the equipment being shipped to Australia for installation earlier this year.
The remaining components of the system were sourced from a local Newcastle supplier, who will help Council maintain the new system moving forward.
Work to restore the bleacher seating is also nearing completion, including application of the iconic teal green colour while sections of the boardwalk are being lifted into place.
Progress is being made on stage two of the project, following community input into preliminary options for the pavilion buildings earlier this year. Principal Design Consultant Tonkin Zulaikha Greer is working to prepare concepts for the upgrade of the pavilion buildings, including the heritage façade.
The $9.5 million proceeds from the sale of City of Newcastle’s Fred Ash building is helping fund the Newcastle Ocean Baths stage one upgrade along with $3 million in funding from the NSW Government’s Public Spaces Legacy Program.