Fluoridation of Drayton Valley’s drinking water is now a thing of the past. Last Wednesday town council voted to make the temporary suspension of the practice a permanent move.
Fluoride had been added to the town’s water supply since 1966 to help prevent dental problems, particularly in children. However, last year Drayton Valley’s water plant manager Bernie Berube approached council with a number of concerns including the safety of workers handling the chemical. In June council decided to temporarily halt fluoridation while the pros and cons of the practice were considered. The Town later received a petition with close to 700 names calling for fluoridation to be discontinued permanently.
At last week’s meeting the original proposal was for council to set a date on which to make a final decision on fluoride. However, Coun. Kyle Archer said he thought the debate had already gone on for as long as it had to.
“I think we’ve had adequate time . . . I think this has been out there long enough,” he said.
Coun. Keith Ebbs said all the medical professionals he had spoken to supported fluoridation. He wanted council to hear directly from them before making a decision.
“There’s a lot of misinformation and a lot of conflicting information out there,” he said. “I don’t want to make a political decision about a health issue.”
However, council opted to proceed to a vote that day and a motion to permanently stop fluoridation was passed with only Ebbs voting against.
Stopping fluoridation means the Town’s water treatment expenses will drop by a small amount. But Mayor Moe Hamdon says this was never about the bottom line.
“This was not done for cost savings,” he said. “This was not a budgetary issue. This was what council felt was in the best interests of the community.”