Council elections: Newcastle Labor pledge to fast track ocean baths, revamp New Year's Eve

PROMISES: Labor council candidates Declan Clausen, Carol Duncan, Nuatali Nelmes and Jason Dunn.

PROMISES: Labor council candidates Declan Clausen, Carol Duncan, Nuatali Nelmes and Jason Dunn.

NEWCASTLE Ocean Baths could be a winner in next month’s council elections after the Labor team pledged they would deliver an upgrade to the seafront swimming hotspot within the upcoming term.

Candidates including lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes have promised they will work to fast-track the regulatory and administrative work required to allow the historic baths to be upgraded quickly.

Initial costings have put redeveloping the baths’ northern wing at around $3 million. If elected, Labor says it would have the project delivered within the next four-year term. 

Cr Nelmes said the plan would include commercial and public offerings if the Labor candidates succeed on September 9. 

"Not only does Labor commit to expediting the regulatory requirements to deliver this project, but we will also deliver $3 million required to deliver much needed upgrades to public facilities and clear the way for future investment into the southern pavilion to for place activation and small scale commercial facilities like a cafe or restaurant,” Cr Nelmes said.

"We want the community to have access to upgraded amenities at the ocean baths - new toilets, change rooms and showers, as well as new children coming commercial facilities to breathe new life in to this iconic facility."

Officially opened in 1922, the Newcastle pavilion is heritage listed so its exterior cannot be changed.

The ocean baths promise is the second appealing to the city’s swimmers in the past week. Independent lord mayoral candidate Kath Elliott has promised upgrades to the city’s inland pools, beginning with Lambton, at a cost of between $26 and $30 million. 

The aquatic overhaul was one of two Labor proposals raised at the weekend that could bring big changes to the city’s waterfront, with deputy lord mayor Jason Dunn and Ward 2 candidate Carol Duncan flagging a revamp for New Year’s Eve festivities over the harbour as a “cornerstone of council’s summer event’s program.”

The council has skipped midnight fireworks over the harbour since 2013 in favour of a bigger show at 9pm.