Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley wants the province to take a hard stance on fluoride in water.
“It would be much better if they decided across the province,” he said Monday, as council weighed and voted down a motion to craft a bylaw calling for removal of the controversial additive from the city’s water supply.
Such a vote would just be an opinion poll of council, Bradley said, given a majority of other member municipalities in the Lambton Area Water Supply System (LAWSS) would have to be on side with the move.
Last time the city voted to remove fluoride from its water, in 2013, most LAWSS-member councils voted for it to stay. So stay it did.
It’s an issue that keeps coming up and, similar to provincial legislation introduced in 2014 banning smoking at playgrounds and sports fields across Ontario, reaching a substantial decision on water fluoridation is likely better done by provincial legislators than Sarnia-Lambton municipalities, Bradley said.
Sarnia-Lambton municipalities tried and failed to enact similar smoking-ban legislation in 2012.
Queen’s Park voted last fall to ban municipalities from removing fluoride, but the motion is non-binding.
Bradley said he plans to introduce before the year’s end a motion for a referendum on next year’s municipal ballot, asking citizens what they’d like to see done.
Water fluoridation was introduced by referendum, and that’s how it should come out, he said, referencing a plebiscite vote in 1970 that saw two-thirds of ballots cast in Sarnia Township and Point Edward in favour of fluoride in water.
Sarnia and Point Edward were the only two LAWSS member municipalities at the time.
Bradley, in 2008 – when he made a similar call for a referendum – said other LAWSS members should hold plebiscites concurrently with Sarnia’s.
His comments Monday followed a motion by Coun. Cindy Scholten to pass a bylaw banning fluoride and asking LAWSS member municipalities to follow suit.
Council ultimately voted 5-4 against that motion.
Late last month doctors pro and against fluoride argued respectively its benefits and dangers in a public meeting at city hall.
Opponents say fluoride is toxic and harmful; while proponents say having it in water helps less affluent people prevent tooth decay…
* Original article online at http://www.theobserver.ca/2017/06/21/sarnia-city-council-notebook