AFTER months of uncertainty surrounding fluoridation costs, it has been revealed that ratepayers will not bare the costs if the plant is decommissioned.
In line with the Newman Government’s announcement earlier this year to hand the decision back to local councils, the Mount Isa City Council has the power to halt the construction and reject plans to implement fluoride treatment.
The council has always maintained that the costs incurred with building a fluoride plant in Mount Isa would be a deciding factor within the decision to medicate the city’s water supply.
A spokesperson for the Minister for State Development, Infrastructure & Planning Jeff Seeney said all costs incurred to date by the building of Mount Isa’s fluoride plant had been reimbursed by the DSDIP.
“The water board makes claim for reimburse of money spent on fluoride as works progress and the last claim was submitted on June 12, and should be paid this week.” he said.
“If they (Mount Isa City Council) decide to stop the plans, my understanding would be that no further payments would be made and there would be no addition al cost incurred, the work would simply stop.”
The spokesperson said the plant was 35 per cent complete with a cost of $100,000 incurred to date.
The Mount Isa Water Board chief executive Greg Stevens said they were almost at the end of the design phase and two thirds of the way through construction.
Mr Stevens said the cost of the plant to date was in excess of $100,000 and was expected to reach at least $800,000 by completion of the project.
Mr Stevens said the council had not instructed the Water Board to halt proceedings, but if they did, the Water Board would consult with the Department of Development, Infrastructure & Planning (DSDIP) to implement the decommissioning of the plant.
Mayor Tony McGrady said he hoped the upcoming referendum would decide the outcome of the proceedings, but if less than 4000 people turn up to the polls, the decision will return to the council.
Cr McGrady said the recent information given to The North West Star would make it easier to make a decision.
“That will be easier for some members of the council, at least now we know that if we make a decision to instruct the water board to stop all activity there will be no additional cost to council.
“That obviously makes it easier,” he said.