New push to block Ballina fluoridation plan
BALLINA councillor Jeff Johnson wants a poll conducted to find out if residents support the addition of fluoride to their water supply.
He has a notice of motion going before council on Thursday to have a poll run at the next local government election in September 2016.
"A handful of councillors and a bureaucrat in Sydney have enforced fluoride on Ballina without any consultation or polling on what residents want... The election provides a timely opportunity to get the people to give an indication if they want fluoride or not. If it comes back that the majority do not, council and the state government need to respect that decision and take all necessary steps to remove it," Cr Johnson said.
Ballina Council currently has fluoride in the water supply for residents in Wardell whose water is supplied from Marom Creek. Other areas in Ballina Shire are supplied from Rocky Creek dam and are awaiting the construction of fluoride dosing plants to be built by Rous Water, which is due to occur later this year.
Ballina Council originally voted against fluoridation, but changed its position in 2006. The issue was revisited in 2013 when support for fluoride was reaffirmed by council, eight votes to two.
But Cr Johnson said the issue should be put to the residents and not just left to councillors.
He acknowledged that it would also require the consent of the state government to stop the fluoride once it had been added.
Cr Johnson estimated it would cost around $14,000 to conduct the poll; council staff put the figure at around $23,000.
Cr Johnson said that was a fraction of the $100,000 a year it is expected to cost council to run and maintain the dosing plants.
Ballina mayor David Wright doesn't personally support the addition of fluoride, but said he doesn't think the mood has changed on council since it was last discussed in 2013.