Fluoride Question on the 2018 Muncipal Election Ballot - February 23, 2018
On February 20, 2018, after a Public Meeting was held that same date at the regularly scheduled Parry Sound Council Meeting, Council passed By-law 2018-6802, a by-law to submit a question to the electors on the 2018 Municipal Ballot. Public notice of the intention to pass a by-law to submit a question to the electors and notice of the public meeting respecting the matter was provided through the Parry Sound Beacon Star on Friday, February 3 and Friday February 9, 2018 as well as being posted on the Town's website and delivered through social media.
The purpose of the Public Meeting was to allow for public comment on whether the by-law should be passed, i.e. whether the Town should direct the submission of the question on the ballot for the 2018 municipal election. It was not a public meeting to determine whether fluoride in the municipal water supply is helpful or harmful.
As Parry Sound Council had already passed a Resolution 2016-008 requesting the by-law question be put on the ballot, only three residents provided comments. Prior to the public input, the public was informed that anyone making comments on the benefits or injurious effects of fluoride in the drinking water would be considered campaigning for the question and would be in contravention of the Municipal Elections Act, S.O. 1996, as amended. Campaigning may only begin once third-party advertisers (TPA's) are registered with the Town Clerk starting May 1st right up to October 22, 2018.
Appeal of the Passing of the By-law
Notice of the passage of the by-law (provided February 23, 2018) has been given to the public and the Minister of Municipal Affairs within the required 15 days, in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act. The notice will be provided through the Parry Sound Beacon Star, the Town's website and social media.
Within 20 days after the passing (March 12, 2018) shall be the last day to file an appeal of the passing of the by-law. Section 8.1 (6). Within 15 days after receiving an appeal, the Town Clerk shall send the information pertaining to the appeal to the Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario. Within 60 days the Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario shall hold a hearing regarding the appeal of the by-law. As of March 13th there were no appeals registered with the Clerk.
Water Fluoridation - What's it all about?
Parry Sound has been adding fluoride to the Town's drinking water since the 1960's. At the June 2, 2015 Council meeting Council defeated a staff recommendation to cease adding fluoride to Parry Sound's drinking water. The primary reason for the staff recommendation was staff safety in handling the fluoride. Staff were then asked to provide information to upgrade the fluoridation process in the water treatment plant to ensure the safety of the plant, staff and the public. At the September 1, 2015 Council meeting Council approved the upgrades to the fluoride system for a total of $250,000.00. Recent Council meetings have seen Council and the public receiving information from the Medical Officer of Health from the North Bay-Parry Sound Health Unit, about the benefits of water fluoridation and others providing information about what they believe are fluoride's detrimental effects.
On November 3, 2015 a third staff report was provided to Council regarding the regulations for a potential referendum for the removal of fluoride from the Town's drinking water. For access to all staff reports see below. Information presented at Council meetings is also available in the Council Calendar with a Presentation section beside the Council Meeting minutes or contact the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit at 705-474-1400 X2328 or on-line at www.myhealthunit.ca and search water fluoridation.
Staff Reports: Please be advised that while the staff reports are AODA compliant, not all the attachments to the reports are. Please contact the Town Clerk, for an alternate format.
Update on Fluoridation Issue: At a Special Budget Meeting of Council, held January 26, 2016, the resolution approving the water treatment plant upgrades was brought back to Council. Council decided the following:
Resolution 2016-007 rescinded Resolution 2015-154 approving upgrades to the water treatment plant. Staff were asked to provide notice to the Ministry of Health that the Town will cease adding fluoride in the near future; to prepare a by-law removing fluoride from the drinking water system; to post the draft by-law for 21 days for public review and to notify the Council for the municipality of McDougall of Parry Sound's intentions as McDougall purchases water from the Town of Parry Sound. See Minutes of January 26, 2016 for your information.
Council also passed resolution 2016-008 instructing staff to add the following question to the municipal election ballot in 2018: Are you in favour of the fluoridation of the public water supply of this municipality? As per the Fluoridation Act, this is the only question allowed on a municipal ballot.
The draft by-law to remove fluoride from the Town's drinking water was available to the public for comment. Deadline for comments was March 14, 2016, 4:30 p.m. The by-law came before Council for deliberation at the March 15, 2016 Council Meeting and By-law 2016-6619 was passed. As of March 18, 2016, after consultation with the the Ministry of the Envrionment and the Ministry of Health, the fluoride delivery system at the Tony Agnello Water Treatment Plant was disengaged. There will be no more fluoride delivered into the Town's drinking water until the final decision is made on voting day October 22, 2018. If you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk, 705-746-2101 Ext. 220.