Coastal projects take shape heading into 2023

22 Dec 2022

Significant impacts of three consecutive La Niña events added to the challenge of ensuring Newcastle’s famous coastline from Stockton in the north to Burwood Beach in the south remained safe and accessible for the community to enjoy.

Throughout 2022, City of Newcastle (CN) has delivered a program of work along the coastline which includes the emergency response to severe weather events which caused havoc along the coastline and damaged several coastal assets while at the same time undertaking the investigations and planning for coastal management over the longer term.

In the north, this program of work included completing emergency repair works at Stockton Beach where further beach erosion resulted from the series of weather events earlier in the year.

CN is also moving ahead with the work required to receive and place sand on Stockton Beach, with placement designs and environmental approvals expected to be finalised in early 2023.

In the shorter-term, CN has awarded the tender to build the first of three buried terminal protection structures designed to significantly reduce the chances of erosion in the event of large swells. Construction is anticipated to start early next year on the first structure, which will consist of underground vertical concrete piles that extend from street level to 8.5m below ground at the southern end of the Mitchell Street rock sea wall.

Significant work has also been undertaken on the development of the Extended Stockton Coastal Management Program (CMP), which progresses the Stockton 2020 CMP and extends the boundaries of the Program north to the Local Government Area border. The revised series of draft management actions listed in the Extended CMP will be circulated to community representatives, and their feedback will be considered in the final set of actions, which will go on public exhibition in mid-2023.

South of the harbour, good progress is being made on the stage one upgrade of the iconic Newcastle Ocean Baths, with renewal of the pools and promenades on track for completion by mid-2023, ahead of re-opening of the baths for swimming by next summer. Consultation on stage two of the upgrade, which centres on the pavilion buildings, will commence early next year.

Just down the coastline work continues on the upgrade to Bathers Way at South Newcastle Beach. Improvements to stormwater drainage, removal of contaminated materials and measures to stabilise the cliff line in the area have been undertaken in addition to the upgrade works, leading to unavoidable program delays, along with supply chain and labour impacts of COVID-19. Despite this the lower promenade is almost complete, and the much-anticipated skate park and skate bowl are taking shape, with the facility expected to be completed in Autumn, and opened by mid-2023.

CN is moving forward with another key link in the city's iconic coastal walkway, with tenders called for the design of the next stage of Bathers Way, which will create a more accessible shared path through the State heritage-listed King Edward Park. Once appointed, the design consultant will build upon an existing concept layout, with community consultation to inform the final design.

At Bar Beach, a series of emergency repairs have been undertaken following major storm events in April. Temporary stairs have been installed to allow lifeguards direct access from the viewing tower and promenade to the beach, as well as improving access to amenities and upgrades to access for lifesaving vehicles.

Further works are planned to follow the busy summer period, including improvements to accessways at four points between Bar Beach and Merewether Beach. The Bar Beach promenade area will also be upgraded, including construction of a new disabled access ramp, new stairs, upgrades to seawalls and the installation of new handrails.

The stretch of coastline between Bar Beach and Merewether is a key focal point for the development of the Southern Beaches Coastal Management Program (CMP), which is currently underway. The Southern Beaches CMP will cover the length of coastline from Nobbys in the north to Glenrock in the south, providing a long-term program of actions required to adapt to immediate and future changes on our coast. Community consultation on the development of the plan will occur throughout 2023.

Dixon Park's new kiosk will be up and running for summer, completing the building’s transformation, including the iconic Mark Richards mural, which has been expertly renewed by Up&Up Inspirations. Sunnyboy Kiosk will serve up to 15 flavours of gelato, fresh juices, acai bowls, pastries, fish and chips, and hamburgers, with ample shade and seating, all overlooking Bathers Way - delivered as part of City of Newcastle’s ongoing coastal revitalisation works.