IN a show of defiance, Cr Jan Watt decided to walk out on a Gympie Regional Council Works and Services Committee meeting discussion about fluoride on Tuesday.
She said council was instructed by the Queensland Government to vote in favour of fluoridation and decide how they were going to implement it.
Cr Watt said she had a conflict of interest with the discussion as she morally objected to mass medicating without the consent of the people.
The State Government under Anna Bligh mandated in 2008 that fluoride be added to the water supply systems of Gympie, Tin Can Bay and Cooloola Coveby December 31 this year.
Cr Watt said she had to make a point of not agreeing with fluoridation and said there were many conflicting studies on fluoride, some saying it didn’t work and others saying it was detrimental to health.
She said council had to fluoridate and couldn’t go against the legislation.
But there were other ways to deliver fluoride including tablets that would make it safer.
“It’s (fluoridation’s) value is in doubt, I can’t with a full conscience participate in any debate,” she said.
Cr Watt said the agenda item was an operational issue and she didn’t believe it was responsible to vote on it, given her views.
On Tuesday, council approved a plan of how they would implement the fluoride, though the plan is yet to be ratified in a general meeting.
By June, council will have called tenders for the project and engaged a contractor for new buildings.
A part of the fluoridation project calls for a laboratory and new amenities at Cooloola Cove and one at Gympie.
Council’s General Manager of Water and Sewage, Ian Schiefelbein, reported to council that the new buildings may need to be partly funded by council for the non-fluoride components.
Sodium Fluoride Saturation plants will also need to be integrated into the three sites along with pipe work, fluoride detectors and safety equipment.
Capital works for the fluoridation scheme will be 100 per cent funded by the Queensland Government, however council has to meet rigorous conditions and cannot apply for funding until a concept design report, which council aims to complete this month, has been submitted.
Council will be adding sodium fluoride powder to the water supply, which is toxic unless dissolved in water.