City turns to the public about decision on flouride

The City of Red Deer has conducted a survey regarding how people want a decision made on whether or not to continue the fluoridation of drinking water.

Councillor Cindy Jefferies said they have received feedback from locals but that it has mostly been regarding whether or not they want fluoride, not necessarily about how they want it decided.

“We had one person say that they would like council to make the decision because that’s what we’re elected to do. They said there’s a lot of information so we want you guys to digest that and make a decision.”

Jefferies said that people do acknowledge how much information is out there and that it is a heavy decision to make.

Ida Diachok, a teacher’s assistant, said she wants fluoride out of drinking water and that the money spent to fluoridate water could be better spent on other nutritional concerns.

“The reality is that if they’re really that concerned about teeth why doesn’t somebody make sure kids have proper coats in the winter time and better than just packaged foods? I think we’re kind of slipping by,” she said.

Diachok was one of the members of the public who showed up to a consultation meeting where council members sat down to get the public’s views on how to make a decision.

“I want it to go to a plebiscite but not if it’s going to be two years down the road. There are a lot of uninformed people that just don’t pay attention. A lot of people aren’t thinking about the fact that they bathe in it and put it in their humidifiers,” said Diachok.

City Councillor Tara Veer spoke with Diachok and made notes on the survey regarding Diachok’s opinions and ideas.

“If the City has a need to spend that $40,000 or $50,000 then let’s do something that will actually make their teeth stronger. Let’s start with nutrition because that’ll go a long ways,” said Diachok.

Many members of the public said they would like to see City council make a decision on the issue so that it can be dealt with sooner than it would be if it went to plebiscite.

“A plebiscite could take place any time but it is rather expensive so the odds are better that it would happen at the next election in the fall of 2013,” said Veer.

Anti-fluoride advocate Ashlee Sanchez also attended the public consultation and said she would like to see council decide whether or not to continue fluoridation.

“With the information they have I can’t see them deciding to keep it in,” said Sanchez.

Councillor Paul Harris spoke with Sanchez and said they are hearing both sides of the issue, but definitely an abundance of people who want fluoride out of the water.

“I’ve heard from some dentists and doctors saying it’s a great dental triumph, but there are other dentists saying they want it out too,” said Harris.

Sanchez said a plebiscite would take too long which is why she wants to see it go to council to make an educated decision.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling was also present at the consultation and said that council has heard from both sides of the issue but not many people that are in the middle.

“People are either really strongly for it or against it,” said Flewwelling.

Many of the people that Flewwelling has heard from have said they want council to make a decision, as they are the elected members meant to represent the public’s views.

“We all drink and bathe in the same water so it affects us all, including council,” said Sanchez.