PETER Lehner has been awarded for his services to the community by Lismore Council, but now the popular choirmaster is packing up and leaving Lismore in disgust after council’s position on fluoride.
“It’s a human rights issue. These six people have waived the precautionary principle to mass medicate us all. I don’t want to see them or be around them ever again. I don’t believe in them. I’m disgusted and leaving,” Mr Lehner said.
He moved to Lismore from Sydney five years ago. He had been running a choir for homeless people there called the Sydney Street Choir and after connecting with people through the Winsome Hotel, he started a similar choir there that became known as the Bridge Street Choir.
It has been so successful that it spawned other community choirs including the Healing Voices Choir (for people with mental health issues and their supporters); the Winsome Lose Some Gospel Choir (for anyone) and the One Breath Choir (for advanced singers).
Mr Lehner plans to move to Mullumbimby early in the New Year.
“We’ll have to see how things unfold,” he said.
Mr Lehner said he will not spend any money when he comes to Lismore.
“I’m very good at boycotting. I’ve been boycotting Nestle for 23 years and I’m a vegetarian. I have very strong beliefs and work with my heart and with my integrity,” he said.
Mr Lehner is particularly upset with Mayor Jenny Dowell whom he previously thought was a great community advocate.
“I really believed she cares for people, but now I’m not sure. I was trying to reach her heart, but she wouldn’t listen. She said she made up her mind six years ago.”
He said he won’t participate in any events where Mayor Dowell will be.
Another Lismore resident of 13 years, Taran Tula is also threatening to leave Lismore.
“If I could live in Byron Shire without fluoride, that would be a very attractive proposition,” she said.
Ms Tula said there should be a referendum on fluoride to accurately gauge community feeling.