City councillors have endorsed a plan to let under five-year-olds to swim free at council pools.
The initiative won across-the-board support during today's deliberations on the council's draft annual plan and is expected to benefit an estimated 10,000 children a year.
Councillor Ewan Wilson made the proposal a key blank of his Hamilton mayoral election bid last year and described the endorsement as a nice win. Allowing under-fives free access will cost ratepayers about $30,000.
Meanwhile, councillors showed little appetite to cut "value add" services at Waterworld and Gallagher Aquatic Centre.
Under the spotlight was the council's popular Learn to Swim programme and the Club Aqua gym.
A council report said if services such as Learn to Swim and Club Aqua were canned it could remove one of the primary reasons for people using the council pools.
"This would result in a negative impact on visitor numbers and therefore revenue generating potential".
Councillors also agreed to increase Waterworld's operational budget by $63,000 to allow the facility to stay open to 9pmCouncil is expected to adopt its draft annual plan for public consultation on March 27.