The NSW Government and City Of Newcastle have announced an $11m partnership to overhaul South Newcastle Beach below Shortland Esplanade.
A $5 million grant from the NSW Government will see the creation of an accessible skate bowl, modern kiosk and outdoor gym, along with tiered seating and shade shelters.
Render of the final design
A skate bowl-plaza combo lit up by electric blue lighting and the Bathers Way's highly accessible widened pathway are part of the plan that got a major boost today courtesy of the formal backing of the NSW Government.
Indigenous art installations, new public amenities and stylish landscaping will also be delivered by Council over the next two years.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the announcement meant Council's visionary Bathers Way project connecting Nobbys and Merewether was a significant step closer to completion.
"This component of Bathers Way and coastal revitalisation is complex and this funding from the State Government is a vital component to expediting this transformative project for our community," the Lord Mayor said.
"The intermediate-level skate bowl and surrounding exercise facilities will cater to a diverse range of activities, promote healthy lifestyles and more economic activity, while creating a genuine tourist attraction in the construction of what I have tagged the Blue Bowl.
"The design is absolutely breathtaking. This is going to be one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever undertaken on our coastline and is another step in the transformation of our city into one of Australia’s most beautiful and stunning coastlines.
"The 6km coastal pathway is already a must-see destination for visitors to the region, allowing them to take in stunning views on a safe, shared pathway that will become a tourism drawcard in itself when completed."
Following consultation with the skateboarding community, the final design features a more accessible skate bowl better integrated into the overall site and a Vivid-style artistic touch.
"At night the bowl will be bathed in colour through feature lighting that will prove a major attraction after dusk," Councillor Nelmes added.
The revised design has maintained the bowl's location jutting out into the sand, but lowered and widened it for easy access and construction.
Two-time Australian street skating champion Russell Grundy, 35, said South Newcastle would become a springboard for young Hunter skaters.
"The design is awesome," said the Olympic skating advisor and judge of world-class events.
"It's going to help the progression of our local talent because the bowl is a stepping stone to the one at Empire Park and the skate park is like nothing we have in the region, so it’s going to be awesome not only for skaters but BMXers too.
"The new facility will be able to hold a lot more skaters. Empire Park can hold one on the bowl and three on the street course but this one will be able to have 15 people skating at once."
Council is also seeking Federal funding to overhaul the Newcastle Beach Pavilion and complete the final two sections of Bathers Way between South Newcastle and Bar Beach.
The $5 million announced today follows $5.6 million through the State Government’s 2013 Resources for Regions program to build the Bathers Way between Nobbys and Newcastle Beaches.
In recent years, Council has invested around $27million in coastal revitalisation projects including the Bathers Way, along with significant investment in infrastructure renewal to support the delivery of this regionally significant project.