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By Susan Hofforth
At the town council meeting on September 9, council voted on two motions that would allow an opinion poll question to be included on the municipal ballot. One passed, the other did not.
Council voted 4 to 3 to include a question about using tax dollars to bring a transit system into Whitecourt. This means that such a question will likely be on the ballot in October once council has agreed on the final wording and put it to the vote. The other question, asking whether the practice of adding fluoride to Whitecourt’s drinking water should be discontinued, was voted down 5 to 2, with Darlene Chartrand and Maryann Chichak voting for it.
Councillor Darlene Chartrand argued at length for its inclusion. “The people are entitled to a voice on this,” she said. “It’s their tap, their water and their health.”
Thirty communities across Canada have removed fluoridation from their water supply in recent years. Calgary, Slave Lake and Drayton Valley are examples. People opposed to water fluoridation believe that it causes health problems, harms the environment, and has a dosage that cannot be properly controlled. They also say that any good effects that it has do not justify the cost. Those who believe in water fluoridation believe that it is the major factor responsible in the decline of tooth decay and that adding fluoride to the water is the best, and most cost-effective way to deliver it.