PRESS RELEASE FRIDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER 2017
Hutt City Councillor Campbell Barry is calling on the Council to introduce free entry for Under 5’s to all of Lower Hutt’s six swimming pools.
“Seven out of ten kids in New Zealand can’t swim, and Lower Hutt, like most of New Zealand, is surrounded by rivers and beaches. We should be leading the way in getting our kids in the water as young as possible” says Councillor Barry.
“The Council currently offers a fantastic learn to swim programme for kids but the reality is a lot of families in our City can’t afford the cost. Making our pools more accessible for parents with young children can only be a positive when it comes to water confidence and their well-being.”
A motivation for Councillor Barry introducing the policy was witnessing a teenager nearly drown at Petone Beach last summer because he didn’t know how to swim properly. “It was a very scary thing to witness, he was just lucky that people were around to save him”.
“I truly believe that making our pools more accessible for kids in their early years will be a life saver for some”
“Of course it won’t teach every child how to swim, but it’s a start and something affordable that we can do to get the ball rolling and more kids in the water”
The estimated cost of introducing free pool entry for under 5’s is $130,000 per year.
Council currently charges $3.50 for everyone who is 15 years or under. Parents supervising children under 8 can enter the pool for free.
Councillor Barry says the policy would be cost neutral on Ratepayers by re-prioritizing a small amount of Council spending in the CBD or by making minor changes to the Pools current fee structure.
Councillor Barry will be presenting his policy proposal to Council in November, with the aim of having it be part of next year’s Long Term Plan consultation.