The fluoridation of Dorval’s drinking water became a hot municipal election topic last week, when mayoral candidate Brent Hussey accused outgoing Mayor Peter Yeomans of not advising residents that their water has not been fluoridated for almost two years.
Yeomans, however, claimed that the public was notified through the media and that he had spoken about the issue at borough council meetings – but when further questioned, Yeomans said notifications were not sent to residents through either the city newsletter, its website or any official report.
“Dorval residents will be informed in due course,” said Yeomans, who will be mayor until Jan. 1, when Dorval officially regains its independence from Montreal. After siding with Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay over the forced mergers, Yeomans decided not to seek re-election after residents voted to reconstitute their city and demerge from Montreal.
Until 2003, Dorval had been fluoridating its water for almost half a century.
Hussey, one of four mayoral candidates, said the the failure of borough officials to notify the public about the end of fluoridation was unacceptable.
“We’ve been going door to door and no one I spoke to had heard that there’s been a stop to the fluoride in our water,” Hussey said.
“Certainly it wasn’t told to the citizens of Dorval in a clear fashion,” Hussey said.
Hussey said the flap over fluoridation is an example of how Dorval’s current government, including mayoral candidate and councillor Edgar Rouleau, has misled its residents.
Rouleau could not be reached for comment.
Yeomans said the fluoridation of water was halted in 2003 because the equipment needed a $400,000 upgrade. He said the public was not notified because the borough was waiting for the okay from the Quebec government, which funds fluoridation. However, Yeomans said, he learned about six months ago that the funding would not be forthcoming until a decision was taken on the issue for the entire island of Montreal.
Pointe Claire, which sells its water to Baie d’Urfe, Beaconsfield, Kirkland as well as parts of Ste. Anne de Bellevue and Dollard des Ormeaux, has also been fluoridating its water for more than 50 years and continues to do so, said Pointe Claire Mayor Bill McMurchie. “It has never been an area where we received a single complaint,” he said.
Other mayoral candidates in the Dorval election are independent candidates Raymond Lauzon and Ralph Pelley.