TENTERFIELD ratepayers will cover all the costs of fluoridating the town’s water supply, despite a long and vocal history in objection to the chemical’s addition to local water.

A perturbed councillor Phil Yates asked the Tenterfield Shire Council at its last ordinary meeting to approach the State Government to pay the costs associated with fluoridating town water in light of the public opinion.

But it is quite clear that Councillor Yates is among the minority on council worried about matching public opinion on this matter.

Council voted against his request to approach the NSW Government, which is pushing for the addition of fluoride to water supplies through the Department of Public Health, to cover costs.

“Why, when 80 per cent of the Tenterfield community don’t want fluoride, are we paying for it?” he said.

“Can we approach them (the State Government) and ask them to pay?” he asked council.

The answer was no.

Councillors Yates, Lawrie West, Nick De Stefani and Peter Petty voted in favour of approaching the Government for funding.

Councillors Toby Smith, George Hardcastle, Tom Peters, Lucy Sullivan, John Macnish and Mike Petrie voted not to approach the Government.

In the last 50 years, the issue of fluoride has been put to public vote on a number of occasions in Tenterfield, most recently in the November 12, 2005 E Ward bi-election. Eighty per cent of the voters answered ‘no’ to the question of fluoride in Tenterfield.

Figures reported in the Tenterfield Star from 1948, 1959, 1963, 1980 and 2005 showed that voters constantly returned between 70 and 80 per cent against introduction of the chemical.