Cornwall administration is asking council to put the contentious fluoride issue back on the table.
The city’s water has been without fluoridation treatment since the fall of 2013 when an occupational health and safety concern arose stemming from the application of hydrofluorosilicic acid during the water purification plant process.
Facing a bill of about $300,000 to rectify the problem of the acid entering the atmosphere, the last council decided in September 2014 to delay a decision in order to allow more information to be presented to a new council.
Now administration, faced with a new petition, is asking council to consider four options to hopefully resolve the issue:
* Hold a public referendum as part of the 2018 municipal election, which would cost $10,000 – a much cheaper alternative to holding a stand-alone referendum which would cost about $150,000.
* Conduct an informational session/online survey.
* Hold a public debate so residents can hear invited speakers representing pro- and anti-fluoride interests.
* Hold an open house that would include a debate and other measures to receive feedback, such as a survey, questionnaire and social media engagement, etc.
A petition of about 450 names has been received by the city from a group called Keep Cornwall Fluoride Free.
Administration noted that not all the signees have been verified as Cornwall residents, and that some of the signees have indicated they live outside the city.
City council has in the past received delegations from anti-fluoride groups wishing to alert councillors that fluoride is toxic and should not be added to drinking water systems.
But medical professionals, such as local medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, has touted the benefits for residents of all ages.
Administration has indicated that Roumeliotis wishes to address council on this matter.
Also asking for presentation is the collective bargaining unit for the Water Purification Plant operators (Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3251).