South Newcastle beach promenade will undergo a multi-million dollar transformation featuring a skate park design that professional skater Russell Grundy described as an “Australian first”.
The long-awaited upgrade will be made possible by an $11 million partnership between the NSW government and Newcastle City Council.
Announced at the existing skate park on Tuesday by Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC, the project will see the redevelopment of the promenade below Shortland Esplanade.
A $5 million grant from the state government will see the creation of a new accessible skate bowl, kiosk and outdoor gym. Electric blue lighting will light up the area at night, Indigenous art will be installed and public amenities upgraded.
Cr Nelmes said the project is another piece to the puzzle of council’s vision for Bathers Way, which connects Nobbys and Merewether.
"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,” Cr Nelmes said.
"At night the bowl will be bathed in colour through feature lighting that will prove a major attraction after dusk.
"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.”
The redevelopment comes as two new skate parks are being constructed in Lake Macquarie at Charlestown and Cameron Park by Lake Macquarie City Council.
A third is being considered for Windale, while parks in Croudace Bay and Morrisset are in planning for construction in 2018/19.
Some of the city’s best skaters were at the South Newcastle beach redevelopment announcement and gave the final designs their tick of approval.
Poppy Starr Olsen, 17, a world champion and professional skateboarder, said the unveiling caught her by surprise but she was stoked to see the park layout.
“There’s so many amazing skateboarders in Newcastle so it’s awesome to be able to have another skate park here that we can skate at,” she said. “To have have more options, and to have this park and these bowls right on the beach, will be awesome.”
Grundy, 35, who was involved in the design process, said the park will improve facilities for local skaters.
“I’ve been part of this project since the start, as I have with the ones around Lake Macquarie as well, trying to make sure we get a diverse array of skate parks for the next up and comers,” he said.
“We can make sure they have every opportunity to push their limits and progress as much as they possibly can.”
The two-time Australian street skating champ commended the consultation.
“The council have been really good,” he said.
“Everything takes time and especially when you’re talking about putting the first bowl on a beach in Australia.”
Construction will commence in early 2019 and be completed within two years.