Thousands of Novocastrians have been involved in community engagement on revitalisation of Newcastle Ocean Baths, with consultation forming an integral part of the City of Newcastle’s concept-design phase.
The City has committed to funding the restoration of the Newcastle Oceans Baths and is determined to see the facility become an asset the community can be proud of, while also ensuring they remain a public asset with free entry to swim all year round.
“Not only have we reached out to the wider community through our online ideas wall which has received more than 5,000 page visits and 890 ideas entries, we have also conducted more than 200 face-to-face interviews and 900 telephone polls to better understand our community’s vision for how this site will look and be used,” City of Newcastle Community Engagement Coordinator Jamie Ferguson said.
“Opening up the conversation to all people in the community has been extremely beneficial and has resulted in a breadth of ideas and concepts to support future improvements. This diversity of views brings better outcomes for current and future users.”
Some of the ideas received to date include shade structures, a community space available for hire, health and wellbeing facilities such as a gym, seating and change room upgrades and a kiosk or restaurant.
Any suggestion that plans for the future use of the site are predetermined is false.
Meanwhile, community consultation will be maintained through a Community Reference Group (CRG) before information sessions and a public exhibition period to present concept plans to the broader community. Councillors will then review and approve any restoration.
“We want to ensure this upgrade does justice to the heritage of this site and that our maintenance and upgrade program protects the site for another 50 years,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“The City of Newcastle seeks to form a Community Reference Group which has 50 percent stakeholder and user-group representation and 50 per cent of members selected from the broader community via an expressions of interest process.
“We have received more than 80 applications from members of the public wanting to be a part of Community Reference Group so far, which is great to see. Our aim is to have people from all around Newcastle and from different walks of life forming this group.”
Expressions of interest for the Newcastle Ocean Baths CRG close on Thursday 27 February.