A PASSIONATE turnout by anti-fluoride campaigners has failed to sway Lismore City councillors into supporting a poll on fluoride at the next council election in 2016.
The motion to run a poll was introduced by Greens councillor Vanessa Ekins and likened to the CSG poll run in 2012.
Several residents spoke during public access, including one man who asked councillors if they had been bribed into voting for fluoridation.
Natural therapist Paul Hoogendyk asked whether “there were any financial incentives towards this decision”.
When Cr Dowell said, “absolutely not”, he persisted, saying, “I’d like to know for sure”.
Eventually Cr Dowell was forced, to much amusement from the gallery, to pose the question to councillors, asking whether they had ever received any financial incentives for their votes.
Cr Ekins said the decision on fluoridation was made by six people (councillors) “reliant on the opinion of a couple of dentists”.
“We didn’t talk to doctors, we didn’t talk to heart specialists, we didn’t talk to osteos, and we didn’t talk to eco-psychologists, who all have very strong opinions on fluoride,” she said.
Cr Ekins said it was cost-shift by the NSW Government as well because primary school dental clinics would be stopped following fluoridation.
“There’s a lot of negative energy about in our community at the moment which we don’t want,” she said.
“What I’m hoping with this is we can direct all those feelings of anger and frustration into a poll at the next council election.
“It will give people a very simple and clear opportunity to express their support or otherwise for fluoridation of the water supply.”
Cr Ekins said a new council could then make a decision on the basis of the poll.
She said the consultation process over fluoride to date had been inadequate.
“We’re spending more time consulting with community on a $25 increase on rates,” she said.
“I really urge you, let’s just put this matter to the people.”
But the appeal failed to convince councillors to vote for a poll, with the motion going down 8-2, drawing whispers of “shocking” and “shame” from anti-fluoride campaigners.