Fluoride gets green light from Rous

Rous Water will ask Byron Shire Council to reconsider its stand against fluoridation, as its opposition could more than double the cost of dosing local water supplies.

If Byron chooses not to support fluoridation, the cost of providing Rouss other constituent councils with fluoride will be around $1 million, up from $500,000.

Fluoride will have to be added at four separate dosing stations around the Northern Rivers so Byron can stay fluoride-free, instead of a single dosing station at the Nightcap Treatment Plant. This would also mean spending more money on staff as someone would be required to check the dosing stations daily, and land would also have to be acquired. This scenario would also increase operating costs from $90,000 per annum to around $170,000.

A further complication could arise if Ballina Council rescinds an earlier decision to support fluoridation at its meeting next Thursday.

However, with NSW Health up for the full capital cost of providing the fluoride dosing plants, Rous Water councillors were unconcerned about Byrons stance when they voted in support of fluoridation at a meeting yesterday (Wednesday).

One of Byrons representatives on Rous Water, Cr Richard Staples, said he was pleased his fellow councillors were not intent in forcing fluoride on Byron hippies if they didnt want it.

Byrons rejection of fluoride will also be an issue when Rous Water eventually links its pipeline to the Tweeds supply so the two regions can share water if shortages occur in one area.

Tweeds supply is already fluoridated, creating a logistical problem for the water authority.

Before voting on the issue, Rous Water heard from five people during public access time, both for and against. Lismore councillor Vanessa Ekins presented a petition with 800 signatures requesting a referendum on the issue, but to no avail.

Rous Water will now have to wait for both Ballina and Byron Council to make up their minds before taking any further steps.

Meanwhile, the Freedom From Fluoride Association Lismore Branch has planned another public anti-fluoride meeting for next Thursday, July 27, at the Lismore Workers Club. It starts at 6.30pm.

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