April 22, 2019

Archives for January 2016

Fluoride is out

COF-COF Special News FindBy: Stephannie Johnson, Parry Sound North Star, Parry Sound, Ontario 28-Jan-2016 –  After a seven-month battle, members of Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management let out a cheer Tuesday night after council rescinded its June 2015 resolution approving upgrades to the Tony Agnello Water Treatment Plant; the upgrades were necessary to continue fluoridating the municipal water supply.

The upgrade would have cost taxpayers $250,000.

The motion to upgrade the water treatment plant was brought back to the table by Coun. Paul Borneman.

Admitting he doesn’t know any more scientifically now then he did in June, Tuesday night Borneman said there is a great deal of public concern.

“I think for council to continue on its current path, ignores the concerns, but puts us on a course to spend money either on a referendum in the near future and/or upgrades to the plant, which may or may not be required in the future,” Borneman said. “I think what’s proposed this evening is a compromise, it discontinues fluoride in the short term.”

Borneman said come the next municipal election in 2018, all of Parry Sound could have their say, with a question posed on the ballot, asking voters if they want their water fluoridated or not.

“I spoke to Mr. (Peter) Brown (director of public works) about the potential of limping along with this system through to 2018. I don’t think that would meet with the approval of those that signed the petition and it certainly would be in question whether the safety of our staff and the safety of our water supply would be adequate in the interim. That to me is not an option,” Borneman said. “This give is maybe not the best of both worlds, but I think it’s the lesser of the evils….(I believe in) responsiveness to the public will. To simply ignore a grassroots, ground up organization that…far exceeded 10 per cent of the electorate required to take this to a referendum, I think that’s not a responsive idea. At the end of the day it’s not our opinion that matters, it will be the will of the people who decide whether we have fluoride in the water in Parry Sound or not.”

Coun. Bonnie Keith vehemently opposed the resolution saying council made its decision in June and it should stick by it and the scientific experts who vouch for the safety and effectiveness of fluoride.

“The extensive empirical data and peer reviews and findings and trust that is built when you have over 90 organizations around the world – including the World Health Organization and of course our own Health Canada and Ministry of Health and our own local public health and our own local medical and dental professionals – who came out and spoke and explained why the support of the fluoride and having it in our water and why it is a benefit.”

Keith went on to say it is important to stay focused on what is best for the community and not let emotions dictate decision-making.

“I’ve heard different comments in the community that basically there’s 90 per cent of the residents in the community support removing fluoride. Well that I think is wholly in correct.”

I know that my telephone has been ringing recently regarding comments in both directions. There are many people that may not have come to a council meeting but are saying that they want fluoride to continue,” she said. “After looking at all of this, if there’s enough interest that we need to have a plebiscite, then I say let’s have the plebiscite let’s get to doing it. I want to hear from a majority of people, not from a small percentage.”

Coun. Doug McCann said initially he, along with all of council wanted to keep fluoride in and has since changed his mind.

“Science is ever-evolving and I am here to support this not to save money – although that is important – but I firmly believe it should be removed,” McCann said.

Although Coun. Jim Marshall said he hasn’t been convinced that fluoride removal is necessary; he supported the resolution because he didn’t want to hold a referendum.

“I don’t want the resources of the town to be taken up with this debate any longer…every second email that I get during the course of the day is about this issue and I think we’ve got a lot of things to deal with…I’m quite happy to wait until 2018; we’ve got two-and-three-quarter years to debate the issues. …with an election in 2018 I think there will be some excellent, open dialogue on both sides and in the end the people of Parry Sound and McDougall can make their decisions at that point and make a very informed decision. This has been a gut-wrenching experience for everybody…I think we need to put this to an end tonight.”

For Coun. Keith Saulnier, he saw this issue as an exercise in respect.

“While we may disagree on the science, you’ve respected my decision, as I’ve tried to respect yours – it’s the Canadian way. What we can agree on is the democratic method and good for your group for exercising your rights,” he said. It will be interesting to see your group battle Health Canada for the next 26 months for the voters hearts and minds. It will be really interesting to have it on the ballot, right under amalgamation.”

Town clerk Jackie Boggs said the next direction is for the town to notify the Ministry of Health of its intentions with two bylaws; one for Parry Sound, the other for McDougall Township. Once passed, fluoride will stop being injected into the municipal water system.

“Our notice policy indicates that a draft bylaw has to go out to the public for 21 days so everybody can have a look at it and comment on it,” Boggs said.

Prior to the rescinded resolution’s passing, Borneman said he wants the senior levels of government to become involved with fluoridation and requested staff contact Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller, Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement as well as the federal and provincial ministries of health.

“I think that the feds and the province have really hung people like us out to dry. Health Canada, the ministries at both levels have expressed an opinion that fluoride is a good thing,” Borneman said. “Peel Region have been battling this for sometime and they expect within the next month they’re going to be taking steps similar to what we took tonight. The federal ministry today basically said that the feds have no power to impose their will or authority in this area. Mr. Brown will tell you that since Walkerton the province has inundated municipalities with regulations with respect to water that govern how much chlorine and where it’s being tested and how often it’s being tested but they haven’t seen fit to enter the fray with respect to fluoride. Send a letter saying it’s time to deal with this in a well-thought out manner, step up and give us the expertise. It’s time that senior levels of government get involved with this.”

In a recorded vote, all of council voted in favour of the resolution, except Coun. Bonnie Keith.

Almost immediately after council approved the upgrades in June, a group of concerned citizens formed and began voicing their opposition through letters, phone calls and deputations to council.

By November 2015 the group suggested a referendum to let Parry Sound and McDougall residents decide if they wanted their water fluoridated.

McDougall Township has been purchasing water from the town since 2007.

At a cost of $19,000 plus staff time, a referendum would be held if 10 per cent of both Parry Sound and McDougall’s electorate signed a petition wanting fluoride removed.

At the beginning of this month, members of the group headed out on foot canvassing the streets of Parry Sound soliciting signatures in support of removing fluoride.

More than 90 per cent of those polled in Parry Sound wanted the chemical out, while surveys sent to McDougall residents showed that 87 respondents wanted fluoride out, and 13 wanted to keep fluoride in the water.

Joe Moloney, a member of Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management said he was pleased with council’s decision and said it was thanks to the dedication and work of a powerful group that made it happen.

“We think that a majority council made a wise decision in listening to the electorate – the electorate has the final say. Maybe things are changing since the 1950s when the general population didn’t have access to all of the information out there,” Moloney said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s funny that the electorate was asked not to go on the computer and do their research – and we do think it’s great that people have done their research and came to their own conclusions.”


Debate on water fluoridation back on tap for Peel council

COF-COF News FindBy: Roger Belgrave, The Mississauga News, Mississauga, Ontario 28-Jan-2016 – Peel Regional councillors have agreed to take a deeper look at merits and possible health risks associated with fluoridation of municipal drinking water and conduct broader public consultation on the longstanding practice.

During a regular meeting Thursday, councillors passed a motion to have a committee carry out a broad review of the issue and seek wide public opinion on whether the region should continue water fluoridation.

Councillors heard from experts on both sides of the debate during a special Jan. 21 closed-door meeting organized as an education session for the politicians.

In April 2011, the debate on local water fluoridation was closed when council unanimously voted to continue the practice Peel has been conducting for more than 40 years.

Council heard from a number of health officials, including Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, before concluding water fluoridation is a valuable public health tool in fighting poor oral health and other ailments that can stem from oral illnesses.

A vocal and persistent segment of the community argues exposure to the chemical on such a grand and widespread scale is actually harmful to public health.

Last year, council agreed to form a subcommittee to help educate newly elected councillors on the issue.

After last week’s education session, there came rumblings about growing political support for doing away with water fluoridation in Peel.

“I don’t think that’s doing our due diligence,” remarked Mississauga councillor Jim Tovey, who suggested Thursday that a decision of this magnitude cannot be made after an 80-minute education session and without broad public consultation.

Many other councillors who supported tasking a committee to conduct further review and consultation echoed his position.

Despite the issue being closed years ago, there appears to be some difference of opinion on the current council.

Last Monday, a joint letter signed by the mayors of Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon expressed support for the continued use of fluoride in municipal drinking water as a protective health measure.

Mississauga councillor Carolyn Parrish said she disapproved of Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie issuing that public position without consulting the rest of council.

“It really puts us all in an awkward position, particularly those who don’t agree,” Parrish said.

Brampton councillor John Sprovieri, who has been a vocal opponent of fluoridation, questions why municipalities are responsible for water fluoridation instead of the provincial government.

According to Region staff, the municipality spends about $450,000 annually to add fluoride to the drinking water. Last year, Peel bought about 460,000 kilograms of fluoride, staff told council.


Parry Sound votes to remove fluoride from municipal water

COF-COF Special News FindBy: Stephannie Johnson, Parry Sound North Star, Parry Sound, Ontario 27-Jan-2016 – The town (Parry Sound) is done adding fluoride to municipal water – almost.

Last night town council rescinded an earlier resolution approving fluoridation upgrades to the Tony Agnello Water Treatment Plant; the upgrades were necessary to continue fluoridating the municipal water supply.

The upgrade would have cost taxpayers $250,000.

Once again, the council chambers were packed with supporters and members of Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management – the group that has urged the town to drop fluoride treatment.

The motion was brought back by Coun. Paul Borneman, as he was on the prevailing side of the original vote to make the upgrades necessary in order to keep adding fluoride to the water supply.

In a recorded vote, all of council voted in favour of the resolution, except Coun. Bonnie Keith.

If approved by formal bylaw next month, the change must be posted for 21 days for public comment before coming into effect.

See the January 29 edition Beacon Star or parrysound.com for the full story.


Peel Region expected to vote on removing fluoride from drinking water

COF-COF News FindSome Peel councillors want the region to join the growing list of municipalities who no longer add fluoride to drinking water.

Councillor John Sprovieri would like to see fluoride removed from Peel Region’s water. He cites a growing body of research suggesting it’s no longer necessary because of all the other ways people now receive fluoride.  

By: San Grewal, Urban Affairs Reporter, TheStar.com, Greater Toronto Area, Ontario 26-Jan- 2016  – As more municipalities remove fluoride from their water, Peel region councillors are asking why the provincial and federal governments keep pushing fluoridation while leaving ill-equipped municipalities responsible for it.

“If they think it’s so important, that there would be such bad health and medical consequences without fluoride in the drinking water, then why don’t they take responsibility?” asked Brampton and Peel Region Councillor John Sprovieri, following a closed-session workshop where the pros and cons of fluoride were presented. A vote by Peel council on whether to remove fluoride is expected soon, councillors said.

The federal government says fluoridated water is critical to public health, but it leaves responsibility for implementation to lower levels of government.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada strongly support water fluoridation as a safe and cost effective public health measure to prevent dental decay,” said Eric Morrissette, a spokesperson for both agencies, in an email Monday. “The federal government does not have the authority to impose requirements for fluoride in drinking water in the provinces and territories.”

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins likewise says fluoridated water is crucial.

“Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease among Canadian children and can lead to a number of other health conditions. Poor oral health is linked to diabetes, heart disease, respiratory conditions, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and even low birth weight in babies,” he wrote in an email Monday.

“I urge all municipalities to ensure that they continue to protect their communities from avoidable health issues by maintaining fluoride in their drinking water.”

If Peel council drops fluoride, it would follow the lead of other Canadian cities, including Quebec City, Calgary, Waterloo, Windsor and Saint John. Israel imposed a national ban on fluoride in 2014, prompted by concerns over the mass medication of its citizens without consent.

“(The federal and provincial governments) have health ministries, all the experts and scientists on their staff. We don’t,” Sprovieri said Monday. He would like to see fluoride removed, citing a growing body of research suggesting it’s no longer necessary because of all the other ways people now receive fluoride, such as toothpaste, oral washes, cereal and other food.

And despite the increasing number of cities across North America quitting the decades-long practice — to cut costs, because of reports of negative health effects from a range of toxins in industrial fluoride such as bone problems and better ways to get fluoride on teeth — Sprovieri says the argument he and other councillors will use is that it’s an issue beyond the expertise of municipalities. “City councillors should not make this decision. It’s simply not an issue we’re capable of properly debating.”

He and the others on Peel council, who told the Star they’ll vote to have the practice suspended until Ottawa or Queen’s Park mandates it, will face stiff opposition. On Monday, all three Peel mayors — Caledon’s Allan Thompson, Brampton’s Linda Jeffrey and Mississauga’s Bonnie Crombie — released a joint statement in support of fluoridation.

“Regardless of income, education or employment, residents of all backgrounds benefit from access to safe and effective fluoridation in their drinking water,” Crombie stated.

“Removing fluoridation will widen the gap between the rich and poor. It is unacceptable and irresponsible to make life harder for our most vulnerable residents. The very families unable to afford ongoing dental care treatment will have their oral health at risk without fluoridation.”

Asked to comment on Sprovieri and other Peel councillors’ theory that if fluoride is such a crucial medical issue, Ottawa or Queen’s Park should be responsible for it, Crombie responded: “In Peel, we have a system that isn’t broken. This is about putting public health before politics.”

The fluoridation debate

Anti-fluoride arguments
Many municipalities use industrial fluoride — a byproduct of various practices such as fertilizer production that can contain other toxins including arsenic — instead of pharmaceutical fluoride. As a result, opponents raise health risks such as bone decay, lowering of thyroid function and neurological damage.
Swallowing fluoride isn’t a very good way of getting it to teeth and with it now contained in cereal, canned fish, tea, wine, many fruits and vegetables, oral rinses, along with toothpaste — not to mention natural fluoride in some water supplies, some recent research suggests fluoridated water has minimal benefits compared to decades ago.
Jurisdictions around the world have dropped fluoride from their water. Here are some, among at least 50, that stopped using it in the last two years: Yoshikawa, Japan; Galway, Ireland; Prince George, B.C.; Southampton, U.K.; Hernando County, Fla.; Kingsville, Ont.

Pro-fluoride arguments
Health organizations including Health Canada and almost every dental association in the world recommend fluoridation, citing the prevention of tooth decay and other oral health problems.
While proponents of fluoridation concede it can cause toxins to be ingested, they dispute claims that these are in amounts that exceed safe guidelines. There is little scientific evidence that fluoridation poses a risk to people’s health.
Ending fluoridation could force individuals and publicly funded health systems to spend more money treating oral decay and diseases including heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. The cost of adding fluoride to the public water supply is a small fraction of that.


Residents leave no doubts on fluoride debate

COF-COF News FindBy: Stephannie Johnson, Parry Sound North Star, Parry Sound, Ontario 20-Jan-2016 – With more than 90 per cent support against water fluoridation, Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management hope the debate ends now.

For the last several weeks, the group has been going door-to-door, soliciting signatures in the hopes of avoiding a referendum.

Simultaneously McDougall residents, some who purchase water from the town, have voiced their opposition, through a survey sent out by the township. Of the 88 responses received, 78 ratepayers want the chemical removed, while the remaining 10 want to keep the water fluoridated.

The township has been buying drinking water from the town since 2007.

A total of 349 surveys were sent out to McDougall ratepayers and commercial establishments. Ratepayers have until February 20 to compete the survey.

If ten per cent of ratepayers from both Parry Sound and McDougall are in favour of the removal of fluoride, a referendum could be called.

A referendum would come at a cost of $19,000 plus staff time to the town and approximately $15,000 to $16,000 to McDougall – mere pennies, compared to the cost associated with keeping the water fluoridated.

In June 2015 the town council agreed to continue to fluoridate its water, and shortly thereafter approved the necessary $250,000 upgrade to the water treatment plant to dispense the chemical. Additionally, another $4,500 to $5,000 is needed annually to fluoridate the water.

Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management member Joe Moloney hopes when he presents preliminary petition numbers to Parry Sound council during his deputation Tuesday that referendum can be avoided. The deputation took place after North Star’s press deadline.

In a copy of his deputation provided to the North Star last week, Moloney applauds council and local dentists and the job they do for the community.

“What this petition is, is a triumph of democracy and citizens’ initiative,” wrote Moloney. “This petition, supported by over 90 per cent of the electorate we have so far petitioned, is a resounding condemnation of the practice of fluoridation of our municipal water with the chemical hydrofluorosilicic acid.”

Moloney said ratepayers welcomed and thanked those knocking on their doors, many asking, “Where can I sign?”

“Council, we have the overwhelming support of the electorate to take this to a referendum, one I am quite confident we would win. Do we want this? No! This would just add more costs to the amounts already spent and the hundreds of thousands of dollars to be spent in the future,” wrote Moloney. “The citizens of Parry Sound and McDougall are speaking with this petition. If you choose to continue, you as council will be responsible for any future costs as well as the burden put on all Parry Sound and McDougall ratepayers for a referendum on a chemical the vast majority don’t want in their water. There is no shame in taking a leadership role in bringing this to an end and moving forward. We know you love this town, we love this town! Let’s immediately put this issue to bed and move on.”

Friday morning Moloney said he hopes by the time this story reaches the streets the issue will be over and if it’s not, he said the group will continue gathering signatures.

“We’re giving council a chance,” Moloney said. “We’ve talked to councillors behind the scene. We’re going to keep going, but we’re not going to break our necks. The whole idea was to go out there and give it, get the 10 per cent we needed.

“If (council) decides to keep putting this off and putting this off we’re going to keep going.”

Moloney guesses the group has covered about one third of the town with “well over 1,000” signatures.

“When you go to door-to-door, people are more apt to talk… they actually have an opinion and that’s what we’ve found. I wouldn’t be so confident if we weren’t getting these results and they weren’t so consistent with each group,” he said. “We’ve had people run across the street, we’ve had people stop their cars and say, ‘Are you the petitioners? Hold on, we’ve got to sign!’”

Heading out nearly every day of the week sometimes in four and five-hour stretches, Moloney said he is both surprised and thrilled with the response.

“The people are speaking, it’s democracy. It’s not, ‘This is what I believe, this is what you believe.’ It’s democracy. People have a say about what goes in their water and they’re speaking loud and clear,” he said. “I’m hoping we get good results (Tuesday night) and when people read this Wednesday, it’s redundant. It’s been really nice. When we went out we did not expect the results we’re getting. We expected people to be positive, but not this positive.”


No consideration by St. Thomas city council to abandon water fluoridation

COF-COF News FindBy: Jennifer Bieman, St. Thomas Times Journal, St. Thomas, Ontario 20-Jan-2016 – The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care is focusing on fluoridation and is reaching out to municipal councils to rally support for its cause.

A letter from the ministry about water fluoridation was presented to St. Thomas city council as correspondence Monday evening. At a time when some jurisdictions are turning their backs on the water treatment, the notice reminds municipalities about the importance of fluoridation for oral health and encourages local governments to continue the practice.

The topic of abandoning water fluoridation isn’t being considered at St. Thomas city council right now and would require regional discussion if it were to take place in the future.

“The choice to add fluoride is made by the member municipalities of the Elgin Area Primary Water Supply System (EAPWSS),” said Justin Lawrence, director of environmental services and city engineer for St. Thomas.

The system supplies drinking water for St.Thomas, Bayham, Malahide, Aylmer, the Municipality of Central Elgin, Southwold Twp. and part of London.
“Drinking water is fluoridated at the water treatment plant just east of Port Stanley,” said Lawrence in an email.

“This area has historically followed the advice of the scientific community to add fluoride to the water system.”

But in other parts of the county it’s a different story. The Municipality of West Elgin’s water supply is not fluoridated and has not been since 2003, according to an Elgin St. Thomas Public Health report.

The entirety of West Elgin and parts of Dutton/Dunwich use water pumped from a treatment plant near the village of Eagle which does not add hydrofluosilicic acid, the chemical used for fluoridation. Residents in some parts of Dutton/Dunwich get their water from the facility near Port Stanley where fluoride is added.

The health unit promotes water fluoridation and wants to see the practice spread to communities across the county. The health unit adopted a fluoride position statement in 2010 and reaffirmed its support of the initiative on the 70th anniversary of community water fluoridation in Canada and the United States last year.

“The health unit supports community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and cost-effective measure for improving oral health,” said said Dr. Maria van Harten, public health dentist at the health unit.

Van Harten said the health unit is available to answer questions from the public or elected officials about the science behind fluoridation and analyzes assessments made by the Port Stanley facility.

“The health unit regularly reviews reports from the Elgin Area Primary Water Supply System who itself is continuously monitoring water quality and fluoride levels,” she said in an email.

The local health unit’s position statement on fluoride and the local water treatment practices is available on its website. Van Harten said members of the public who want to learn more about community water fluoridation can contact the health unit or visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website Ilikemyteeth.org.


Fluoridation comes back to the table – Discussions set for January 26

COF-COF News FindBy: Stephannie Johnson, Parry Sound North Star, Parry Sound, Ontario 19-Jan-2016 – It’s coming back.

After months of deputations and debate, the issue of fluoridating Parry Sound’s drinking water will return to the council table next week.

During tonight’s council meeting, Parry Sound Coun. Paul Borneman requested the issue be put on the next agenda for discussion.

The room filled to capacity with supporters of the removal of fluoridation roared with applause at the move.

Because Peter Brown, town director of public works will be away at the next council meeting, on February 2, the matter will come back during the budget meeting on January 26.

Borneman was able to bring issue back to the table, as he was the on the prevailing side of the original vote regarding upgrades to the town’s water treatment plant.

The $250,000 upgrades to the plant are necessary to continue to safely distribute the chemical into the town’s drinking water.


Early results against fluoride

COF-COF News FindBy: Paige Phillips, Parry Sound North Star, Parry Sound, Ontario 15-Jan-2016 – Survey results currently demonstrate that McDougall residents want fluoride out of their drinking water.

In a general update to council from the township’s clerk, Cindy Vankoughnett, at a regular meeting of council Wednesday evening, Vankoughnett informed council that to-date, 88 responses from the fluoride in municipal water survey have been received from McDougall ratepayers. Of those 88 responses, 78 ratepayers would like fluoride removed from the water, while the remaining 10 are opposed to the removal. A total of 349 surveys were sent to McDougall ratepayers and commercial establishments. The final date to submit the survey is February 20.

In November, council voted to send a survey out to its ratepayers to get their feedback on whether the majority would like fluoride removed from their drinking water or not, after a deputation from Wayne Gilbert, member of the Parry Sound for Progressive Water Management group. The intention of the survey process is to avoid a referendum, that could be called if a petition, which is currently being circulated throughout the Town of Parry Sound and the Municipality of McDougall, finds that 10 per cent of ratepayers from each respective community wishes that fluoride be removed. The Municipality of McDougall has been purchasing its drinking water from the Town of Parry Sound since 2007.

The Town of Parry Sound council voted in June to continue to fluoridate, which results in a necessary upgrade of $250,000 to the water treatment plant. In addition to the plant upgrades, it costs approximately $4,500 to $5,000 per annum to fluoridate the water.

Vankoughnett informed council that if council were to pass a motion based on the survey results, they would effectively be contradicting section 6.2 of the water transmission agreement with the Town of Parry Sound.

“I think really the steps for us to do right now is wait until February 20 when our survey’s are all back. That will give us a fair idea of what our ratepayers want to do in the system,” said McDougall mayor Dale Robinson. “If it is, please take it out, then I think it would be who of us, if council decides at that time, to make a deputation to Parry Sound council, saying that the agreement says its your call but we would like it out…”

Councillor Kim Dixon questioned whether McDougall council could make a stand on the issue, referencing the terms of the water transmission agreement between the two communities.

“We wouldn’t be objecting, we’d just be going and making a deputation saying please give consideration to this,” clarified mayor Robinson. “I guess at that point if they say no and we took a stand against that then we’d be objecting to what their position is. What are they going to do anyway? It’s probably not worth the paper it’s written on…”

A referendum would come at a cost of $19,000 plus staff time to the Town of Parry Sound and approximately $15,000 to $16,000 to the Municipality of McDougall.

On Tuesday, January 5 members of Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management began canvassing the Parry Sound community soliciting signatures for a petition to remove fluoride from the municipal water supply.

Earlier in the week Joe Moloney, a member with the Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management, commented in saying that of the section of the community that the group had canvassed, 90 per cent of ratepayers wished to have fluoride removed from the water supply. A petition form is also located at Distler Construction Ltd. at 92 James Street.

An alternative to the referendum would be for the Town of Parry Sound council member on the prevailing side of the original vote (to upgrade the town’s water treatment plant) to provide a Notice of Motion at a council meeting. The motion would then come before council at the following meeting.

– with files from Stephannie Johnson


Canvassing begins to remove fluoride from municipal water

COF-COF News FindBy: Stephannie Johnson, Parry Sound North Star, Parry Sound, Ontario 06-Jan-2016 – The mission for a referendum on fluoride in the area has begun.

On Tuesday members of Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management started going door to door, soliciting signatures for a petition to remove fluoride from the municipal water supply.

Between 10 and 20 members will head out in groups of two over the next several weeks asking for signatures from Parry Sound and McDougall residents. Ratepayers are welcome to take their time conducting their own research before deciding whether they want to sign or not, said group member Joe Moloney Tuesday morning.

“We’re not out there to coerce or anything like that, we’re just out there to give people their democratic say in such an important decision,” Moloney said. “We can leave our number with (residents) and they can let us know if they want to sign.”

The town has been fluoridating the water with hydrofluosilicic acid since the 1960s at a cost between $4,500 to $5,000 annually. In June 2015, when council decided to keep its water status quo, staff reported they would need to upgrade the way the chemical is dispensed into the system for the safety of staff.

In September 2015, a report was brought to council outlining the necessary $250,000 upgrades to the plant, which were approved.

“Although council has already made the decision to upgrade the fluoride system in the Tony Agnello Water Treatment plant as being in the best interest of the public they serve, the question of holding a referendum (or plebiscite) to let the residents of Parry Sound decide on this issue rose a number of times during deputations,” wrote Peter Brown, town director of public works in his November 2015 report to council. “As a result, staff were asked to look into what would be involved in holding a referendum to discontinue adding fluoride to the town’s drinking water.”

At a cost of $19,000 plus staff time, a referendum could be held if 10 per cent of both Parry Sound and McDougall Township’s electorate signed a petition to remove fluoride from the drinking water system.

Because the town provides drinking water to some McDougall Township residents, least 10 per cent is needed from them as well, said town clerk Jackie Boggs.

“(The petition) does not get forwarded to our council or McDougall, it gets forwarded to the Chief Electoral Officer…most plebiscites, in fact any plebiscite I could find on this issue or any other issue was handled through a municipal election and a question was put on the ballot. That’s the most cost-effective way to do it. You’re having a municipal election, it costs nothing to put a question on the ballot,” said Boggs during the Nov. 3 council meeting. “If a petition did come forward and they did have the required 10 per cent of the electorate for both municipalities, it would go to the Chief Electoral Officer. We’re really not involved in it at that point, until we hear from the Chief Electoral Officer. My understanding is that it would include us checking every name on the list to ensure that they are actually eligible to vote in this election for the Town of Parry Sound and presumably McDougall would be doing the same.”

An alternative to the $19,000 referendum, or waiting until the next municipal election in 2018, would be for a council member on the prevailing side of the original vote (to upgrade the town’s water treatment plant) to provide a Notice of Motion at a council meeting. Then the motion to reconsider would come before council at the following meeting.

Moloney said he’s uncertain whether something like this has been done before, but the group is committed to getting at least the necessary 10 per cent to hold a referendum.

“This is a small town and it shouldn’t operate like this…if so many people have come out against this, why haven’t (council) brought it back to revisit it?” Moloney said. “Hydrofluosilicic acid is an industrial chemical waste product and if anyone asks about fluoride, we’re gong to tell them it’s actually hydrofluosilicic acid. We’re not going to have any material at the door, but we’re going to let them know. Please don’t be afraid to look all of this up online to see what this is that they’re putting in your water.”


Fluoride Free New Zealand

COF-COF Fluoride Free New Zealand 150 x 150

Fluoride Free New Zealand
P.O. Box 40
South Wairarapa
New Zealand
Tel. 027 361 5951