Bathers Way South Newcastle Beach project set for completion with new contractor

16 Aug 2023

Work will recommence on the upgrade of Bathers Way at South Newcastle Beach following the appointment of a new head contractor by City of Newcastle (CN).

The Newcastle project was one of hundreds across New South Wales and Victoria impacted when building contractor Lloyd Group entered voluntary administration in March.

Executive Manager Project Management Office Robert Dudgeon said while the on-site performance and eventual departure of Lloyd Group put CN in a difficult position, the upgrade to Bathers Way will now be completed with the appointment of Daracon Group.

“City of Newcastle has been frustrated and disappointed by Lloyd Group's project delivery at Bathers Way South Newcastle and the disruption caused by the firm's ultimate collapse earlier this year," Mr Dudgeon said.

"We've seen the tale of two projects on our coastline, with Newcastle Ocean Baths' upgrade delivered by local company Daracon running on time and on budget, while just 500 metres away down the beach the Lloyd Group was well behind schedule.

“Daracon was ranked second when the tender for this stage of Bathers Way was awarded in 2020. The Lloyd Group was selected primarily on the price competitiveness of their bid.

"On the basis that the Lloyd Group is now unable to finish the project, CN is able to appoint Daracon as the new head contractor to complete the work without having to go back out to tender. Doing this would delay the project by at least a further four months."

Daracon has brought on additional staff to ensure both the Bathers Way upgrade and Newcastle Ocean Baths project are resourced appropriately and delivered successfully, with the Baths on track to re-open for swimming in Summer while South Newcastle is planned for completion in May.

The Bathers Way, South Newcastle Beach upgrade features a shared path from Shortland Esplanade to King Edward Park, improvements to parking, landscaping, lighting and accessibility, the installation of fitness equipment, shade, seating and viewing areas, as well as a new café/kiosk and accessible amenities.

The project also includes a $1.6 million upgrade to the skate park with wheelchair-accessible skate bowl and terrain park, which will complement the advanced-level facilities at Empire Park and provide a unique drawcard to promote ongoing visitation and activation of this area.

Around $8.6 million has been invested to date into this project, delivering new sea walls, expanded promenade and kiosk, as well as the preservation of the site’s 115-year-old stone arches in consultation with the National Trust.

While the departure of Lloyd Group and escalating labour and material costs have unavoidably impacted the overall budget and timing of this project, Mr Dudgeon said CN was committed to completing this upgrade as quickly and efficiently so that this stage of the Bathers Way walk can be completed as soon as possible for the community to enjoy.

"The estimated cost for Daracon to complete the project is just under $11.5 million, which reflects the increased cost of labour and materials experienced nationwide since Lloyd Group commenced on site in 2020, and follows the work Daracon have already delivered to address defective works left by Lloyd Group,” Mr Dudgeon said.

"We know that the community are keen to see this project completed, as are we, and with Daracon already established on site, we look forward to seeing it progress as quickly as possible, with expectations of the lower promenade being re-opened prior to Christmas and the rest of the project to follow next year."