GUNNEDAH’S fluoridation project has come to a standstill due to a backlog of other state government projects.
The fluoridation of the shire’s water was set to begin this year, but due to the severity of the state’s bushfire crisis, has been moved down NSW Health’s priority list.
Gunnedah Shire Council voted to endorse NSW Health’s recommendations to fluoridate the shire’s water supply at its December 2017 council meeting.
The council’s then acting director of infrastructure services Daniel Noble confirmed to the Namoi Valley Independent in January 2018 the fluoridation of Gunnedah’s water supply was expected to commence in 2020.
However, a Hunter New England Health spokesperson said a time frame for the project’s completion was still unknown.
“At this stage, Hunter New England Health is working closely with the council regarding the design of the water treatment plant,” the spokesperson said.
“At this stage, we are not certain of a time frame for the completion of the project.”
Gunnedah deputy mayor Rob Hooke said he was disappointed in the delay of the project, but understanding of the circumstances.
“The bushfire situation that is ravaging much of our state at the moment is devastating and understandably requires a lot of attention from the government,” Cr Hooke said.
“I’m totally understanding of the situation and confident things will get moving again soon.
“I still remain very confident our shire’s water supply will be fluoridated before too long.”
Cr Hooke said the fluoridation of the shire’s water supply was “an absolute necessity” for the community’s long-term health.
“I was very much in support of the project back then and I can assure you nothing has changed on that front,” he said.
“If it doesn’t happen soon we will have another generation of locals who have gone without the benefits of fluoride.
“From the council’s perspective, we will be working very closely with NSW Health to bring the project forward.”
Despite having a new pipeline installed in June, the Curlewis’ water supply remains without fluoride.
However, the Hunter New England Health spokesperson said once the water treatment plant is finished, villages across the shire are expected to receive the benefits of fluoridation.
*Original article online at https://www.nvi.com.au/story/6575058/gunnedahs-proposed-fluoridation-project-comes-to-a-halt/