The City of Newcastle is starting work to restore safe access to beaches at Bar Beach in Merewether, following storm damage earlier this year.

The stretch of beach and the Cooks Hill Surf Lifesaving Club suffered major damage from huge waves in April, causing the facilities to be temporarily closed.

Since then, the City of Newcastle has been working with structural and coastal engineers to assess the damage and develop options for the restoration of pedestrian and vehicular access, buildings and promenade areas leading up to the busy summer period.

Newcastle Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said restoring safe access for the community is a priority for the coming months and will allow Cooks Hill Surf Lifesaving Club to resume operations.

“We know how much the community appreciates these beaches, and with summer not too far away, we are now spending over $1 million along this beach to get locals and visitors back on track. activities they enjoy,” said Cr Nelmes. .

“In addition to these more immediate actions, we are also looking to the future to understand what these beaches might look like in decades to come.”

Cooks Hill Surf Lifesaving Club President Michael Clancy said the work is an important step in returning to activity for the summer period.

“We look forward to seeing this work underway so our members and the wider community can safely return to the beach this season,” Clancy said.

Initial work leading up to summer has already begun, including the installation of temporary stairs at Bar Beach, which are now complete to allow lifeguards direct access from the observation tower and boardwalk straight down to the beach, as well as improved access to amenities and improvements to rescue vehicle access.

After the busy summer period, further work is planned and includes improvements to the access routes at four points between Bar Beach and Merewether Beach.

The Bar Beach promenade area will also be upgraded, including the construction of a new access ramp for the disabled, new stairs, improvements to the seawalls and the installation of new handrails.

Looking ahead, the City of Newcastle is working with coastal experts to develop a Coastal Management Program (CMP) for the stretch of beaches between Nobbys and Burwood Beach, which will take into account the increasing exposure to coastal hazards and explore options long-term management for this precious stretch of coast.

The CMP will eventually be exposed to the public and then presented to the Council for support. It will then be forwarded to the NSW Local Government Minister for certification.