With a flouridation referendum weeks away, it was confirmed last week that the Town will host a public meeting on the matter, Monday,November 7 at the Golden Seniors Centre.

The meeting is intended to give background and perspective on the question electors will face at the
November 19 election:

“Are you in favour of the Town of Golden continuing to fluoridate the Town’s drinking water supply?”

A representative for both sides of this highly divisive debate will be present at the meeting.

Local citizen Steve Shaw will speak for the ‘No’ (anti-fluoridation) side.

Carol Gulliford, head of the Interior Health Authority’s dental program, will travel from Kelowna to make the pro-fluoridation case.

Local Lutheran Church Minister Ron Tabbert has been tapped to moderate the debate, which will be followed by a question period for those in attendance.

Tabbert, it would seem, was chosen out of concern for
neutrality and the maintenance of decorum at an event that promises to see a passionate exchange of thoughts and concerns on a highly divisive topic.

The publication of an article in last week’s Star (“To Fluoridate or Not to Fluoridate”, October 26) generated a strong reaction from various anti-flouridationists, including Dr. Robert C. Dickson, a Calgary-based general physician who leads an anti-flouride campaign.

In a letter in this week’s edition (see: A18), Dickson argues that sustained exposure to fluoride can lead to weaker and more brittle bones.

He also says that the fluoride used in most public water systems is derived from hydrofluosilicic acid, a highly toxic bi-product that is scrubbed from industrial smokestacks.

Whether or not fluoridation poses a threat to public health, the only way the Town of Golden can continue or discontinue its program is through a public referendum.

Chief Administrative officer Phil Taylor clarified this fact last week in a report to council.

“The fact of the matter is that distribution of fluoride in the Town’s domestic water system was instituted by referendum,” he said.

“And the only way to change the will of the people is to put the item back to referendum.”