Historic Baths Set For $1m Makeover

Lake Macquarie City Council

Toronto Baths upgrade begins May 2024-6.jpg

Toronto Baths are set for a million-dollar winter makeover thanks to the NSW Government’s Places to Swim program.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser, Minister for the Hunter and Swansea MP Yasmin Catley and Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper flicked the switch on works on Wednesday 22 May, with upgrades to include a new accessibility ramp into the water, new jetty decking and installation of netting around the baths to protect swimmers from sharks and other large sea creatures.

The existing L-shaped jetty will also be extended with an additional arm in the north-east corner to create a fully enclosed bathing area.

“These improvements will ensure everyone in our community can enjoy this magnificent and historic swimming spot,” Cr Fraser said.

Ms Catley said the Places to Swim program supported the creation of great places for people to enjoy the state’s rivers, lakes, dams and other inland waterways.

“We’re working in partnership with all councils and eligible state agencies to improve access to the water,” she said.

“Toronto Baths have been a magnet for generations of bathers, boaties and anglers for almost 100 years, and this work will ensure that remains the case for many more.”

Mr Piper said completion of the works, expected by July, would “no doubt bring more visitors to our already popular Toronto foreshore”.

“I’m pleased to see the next stage of the Toronto foreshore revitalisation project get underway,” he said.

“The completed works to the Town Green precinct have really lifted the foreshore and the community and local businesses are already seeing the benefits.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said the NSW Government was pleased to provide $1 million to revitalise the Toronto foreshore and nearby historic swimming baths.

“This is an investment in high quality recreational open space for the local community which will help make Toronto Baths more accessible and safer for generations to come,” Mr Scully said.

The widespread improvements will be a boon for regular baths users like Bevan McGregor, a member of the Toronto Swimmers group that swims year-round at the site.

Mr McGregor said he, like many other regular baths users, was drawn to the lake for its morning calm, the spectacular sunrises and the abundant marine life beneath the water’s surface.

“Then there’s the feel of the water against your skin and the joy that permeates your being after the swim,” he said.

“We’re pleased Council has had the foresight to apply for funding under the Places to Swim program and appreciate the opportunity we’ve had to contribute to the upgrade’s planning process.”

“The rejoining of the arms of the baths will also enhance the experience of those walkers who want to complete the whole perimeter circuit.”

Lake Macquarie City Council Community History Officer Judy Messiter said private bathing enclosures were installed along Toronto’s foreshore in the late 1800s or early 1900s, but the first Council-run baths opened in 1925.

“There was much discussion in the newspapers on the initial site, and also more discussion in 1929 about moving them,” she said.

However, the baths remained.

Their upgrade marks the next phase of work under the Toronto Foreshore Master Plan.

Construction of the broader Wharf Road precinct is expected to start in mid-2025, allowing time for final design and approval, and providing the opportunity for the foreshore area to remain open during the peak summer period.

Go to lakemac.com.au

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