After a drawn out debate, a motion from Coun. Andre Rivette to “continue” fluoridation did not pass after a deadlocked, recorded 5-5 vote.
Rivette got support from councillors Denis Carr, Bernadette Clement, Elaine MacDonald and Mark MacDonald.
Opposing the motion were councillors Claude McIntosh, Maurice Dupelle, David Murphy, Carilyne Hebert and, with the last vote, Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy.
After clerk Helen Finn announced that a tie vote means the motion was defeated, about a dozen spectators in the gallery applauded.
“Hundreds have said they don’t want it,” O’Shaughnessy said before the vote.
On the other hand, he could “count on one hand” the number of residents in favour of adding fluoride to the water, which was taken out in 2013 as a result of equipment failure.
The mayor explained that “I’m not a scientist” so he could not make a scientific decision.
Others preceded the mayor, citing their lack of scientific training in medicine to make a decision based on information supplied by fluoride proponents and opponents.
Rivette’s motion followed an attempt by Clement to hold a referendum that would allow Cornwall voters to cast ballots for or against fluoridation.
“I’ve never seen the public so engaged in an issue,” Clement said, of the interest expressed through calls to council or through the media.
It only attracted two supporters, O’Shaughnessy and Elaine MacDonald.
Carr briefly expressed his belief that fluoridation should continue because the status quo wasn’t defeated, but the mayor explained the motion was to “continue” and that it did not require a two-thirds support.
Mark MacDonald also tried to introduce a new motion to present another option, but was denied by the mayor.