CORNWALL, Ontario – The political football that is the fluoridation of Cornwall’s water supply is getting booted down the field again.
Cornwall city council voted Monday night to wait until proponents and critics of the practice make presentations at city hall in the near future to outline the benefits and drawbacks.
Cornwall’s water has been without fluoride for two years after a faulty valve at the water treatment plant forced officials to stop adding hydrofluorosilicic acid to the system. In that time councillors have been back and forth over the issue several times.
“It remains status quo. There will be nothing done,” said Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy. “The equipment required has not been installed – I don’t think it’s been purchased either.”
It would cost the city about $300,000 to install the equipment and $50,000 annually going forward.
Council has at least four options, including the potential for a referendum, to address the issue of fluoridating the Cornwall water supply. While a referendum may be palatable to some, if it is planned prior to the next municipal election the cost balloons to $150,000, instead of the cheaper $10,000 option for voting day.
Councillors would also have to wade into the phrasing of a question.
With new faces around the council table, it is likely a new round of presentations will be made to council on the subject.
“You have new councillors around this table who don’t have the health board’s portion of it,” said Coun. Andre Rivette, a member of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit board. “We have to hear from the health department.
“If you don’t give them the courtesy of making a presentation to the new councillors, you’re doing a disservice.”
The workers at the water treatment plant are also requesting time to make a presentation to council on the issue, presumably against the practice from a health and safety prespective.