GOLD Coasters have rejected a push to remove fluoride from the city’s water supply, with a leaked report showing “not one” resident was willing pay the cost.
A confidential briefing note exclusively obtained by the Bulletin shows 660 of 1000 residents surveyed supported keeping fluoride in the water supply, saving up to $100 million.
The high-cost would have been borne by ratepayers who would have been forced to pay a $60 one-off levy.
The city’s water supply is part of the south-east Queensland water grid, which pumps water between different cities depending on need.
Gold Coast Water director Paul Heaton said it would cost about $10 million for the Gold Coast to cease fluoridating its water, while keeping water pumped out of the city’s borders injected with the substance.
But he said to build a system to take fluoride out of the water coming to the Coast from other cities would cost up to $100 million.
The survey found “not one participant supported a one-off levy to support the infrastructure to remove it”.
In a devastating final blow to the anti-fluoride lobby, the memo, written by Gold Coast Water director Paul Heaton, showed respondents were more concerned with the financial implications of its removal rather than the health aspects.
Councillors yesterday met behind closed doors with Queensland Health representatives to discuss the benefits of retaining the controversial mineral in water supplies.
The council is expected to officially vote on the fluoride issue next month.
Mayor Tom Tate said he would not support removing fluoride from the water, which is claimed to help prevent dental cavities, particularly in young children.
“Removing fluoride would have pushed up water prices — the very opposite of what we are trying to achieve,” said Cr Tate.
Fluoride was introduced to the Gold Coast’s water supply in 2008 but the Newman Government announced last year that councils could take it out if they wished.
The Bulletin last month revealed details of the online and phone survey which asked respondents two questions about fluoride.
Just five per cent of respondents were unsure of their stance, 66.4 per cent were in favour of retaining fluoride and 28.6 per cent wanted it removed.
The survey also found people who supported fluoride use were more likely to have been exposed to it as a child.
Palm Beach councillor and former city water boss Daphne McDonald opposed the introduction of fluoride and criticised the limited scope of the survey. She said 1000 people did not give a true representation of the city’s views and the arguments were more about cost than safety.