The grand old dame of North Beach is being gussied up with all the dignity of her Depression-era beginnings.With a touch of powder here and a plumping of cracks there, the 74-year-old North Beach Bathers' Pavilion is undergoing a modern facelift that has regard for her heritage significance.The $8 million project includes a restaurant and cafe built into the southern end of the pavilion, while the northern end has been renovated to include lockers, showers and toilets.The centre will be a base for Wollongong City lifeguards.Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery described treatment of the State Heritage Register-listed building as "fascinating", particularly restoration of the original brickwork on the pavilion's curved facades.Cr Bradbery said specialist contractors had worked in painstaking detail to ensure the new cement used to repair cracks in the brickwork was the same colour as the original mortar."They've used the same sorts of sand and such, so that it weathers at the same rate and doesn't stand out."They have methodically and carefully cleaned, repaired and repointed the 1938 brickwork."Cr Bradbery said the removal of rusted bolts from the structure was a meticulous process."When the bolts rust, they expand and crack. So they've had to be cored out, with a 2cm round hole being created around the bolts so they could be extracted and not just pulled out."The renovations feature extensive use of stainless steel to ensure longevity and include structural roof supports, individually designed and built to align with the existing brickwork, rather than cut into the original bricks.A $5.3 million continuation of the Blue Mile project has been incorporated, with the repair and upgrade of pathways and lighting, repair of a failing sea wall and retaining wall and provision of new stairs from Cliff Rd and new access stairs to the beach."A much wider pathway, about 5m wide, has been created behind the pavilion."This used to be the scene of congestion and near misses between pedestrians and cyclists," Cr Bradbery said."It is now complemented by a new pedestrian promenade that runs around the front of the pavilion."These works also required heritage consideration, with an archaeologist called in to ensure earthworks did not impact on remnants of former tenants, the Puckeys salt works and a tramline.Illawarra Historical Society's Carol Herben said the salt works was operated by Wollongong chemist Courtenay Puckey, who lived opposite the Lagoon Restaurant."There's nothing left of the old salt works, but if you look over the rocks, you can see channels going out where Puckey must have had a pipe running through to draw the water in."An old tramway, which followed a route under the walkway-cycleway, transported coal from Mt Pleasant colliery to the harbour, but: "It was pulled up in about 1936, just prior to construction of the surf club," Mrs Herben said.Cr Bradbery said the council was working to complete the pavilion renovation project by the end of March.