Friday afternoon town staff flicked a switch and fluoride is no longer added to the public water supply.
This came more than eight months after town council originally voted to keep adding the chemical to water that doesn’t just flow to homes and businesses within Parry Sound, but also to those in Nobel.
Then the push back began. First town staff recommended $250,000 in upgrades to the water plant for the safety of staff handling the chemical. Then, a citizen’s group calling itself the Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management hit the streets collecting signatures and pressuring council through deputations and letters to bring the matter back to the table.
Even the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit got involved as the tide swayed in favour of those opposing fluoride, urging for the status quo.
But of those who added their voices to the debate, the vast majority wanted the chemical out.
The warnings of the community’s children ending up with their mouths full of cavities didn’t win over those concerned about dental fluorosis, other health concerns and environmental impacts.
In approving the end of adding fluoride, McDougall Township Mayor Dale Robinson said it wasn’t about one science or another argument, but democracy and doing as the majority wanted was the right thing.
We agree with the mayor.
But, this isn’t expected to be the end of the debate.
It’s expected voters will have a chance to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to returning fluoride to the public water system during the October 2018 municipal election.
Between then and now we are sure there will be pressure put on voters from both sides of the debate. Facts will be flung, letters sent and political candidates pressured to support one side or another.
That, after all is democracy.
So, it is now incumbent on everyone to take a good, deep look at fluoride, get a handle of the facts and made a firm decision one way or another.
Come 2018 this matter needs to be resolved once and for all.