Fluoridated drinking water will return to Dorval as early as next summer, now that Montreal has been washed out of the picture, Mayor Edgar Rouleau announced Monday afternoon.
Quebec offered to finance the entire refurbishment last year, but Montreal’s agglomeration council, which oversees all capital investments to water plants on the island, declined.
Montreal officials cited the need for more investigation into the health and environmental risks of consuming and handling the chemical before giving a green light to the improvement.
Earlier this year, a study revealed that more children in Dorval suffered from cavities since fluoridation stopped.
But Dorval steadily pushed to bring fluoride back. So did Marquette MNA François Ouimet.
“If he wouldn’t have been there they could have shut the door,” Rouleau said of agglomeration, the council in charge of island-wide services. “The only way we could get it was to get the provincial government to change the law to allow that we get the money directly and not through Montreal.”
Ouimet met with Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay in early November after agglomeration, which is dominated by big city council members, blocked the fund transfer.
Tremblay stood firm, so Ouimet sought legislative change to the Dec. 2005 provincial decree outlining the make-up of post-de-merger Montreal.
The amendment “gives the decision-making power to the citizens of Dorval to add fluoride to its water and to make whatever capital investments are needed,” he told The Chronicle, adding that Pointe Claire is also included in the amendment.
Pointe Claire has added fluoride to its drinking water — and continues to do so — for as long as Dorval. However, Ouimet expects its aging system will need an upgrade in the coming year.
Quebec’s financial commitment to Pointe Claire is in place and Ouimet aims to avoid a similar run in with the agglomeration council.
Last month, Dorval resident Jean Clément handed in a petition with hundreds of signatures asking council to bring fluoride back.
“I’m very glad that it worked out well for the citizens of Dorval,” he said yesterday morning.
Clément said the announcement is a victory for Montreal’s reconstituted cities.
“Here’s a little chip in the armour of the agglomeration council,” he said.
“They’re on a power trip and that whole process was created by the Liberal government. We were able to make the Liberal government realize that there are a lot of flaws in the agglomeration council,” he added.
Montreal executive committee member Sammy Forcillo was unavailable for comment at press time yesterday.