Terrace, B.C. council affirms rejection of fluoride referendum request

One councillor, however, thought residents should be able to express choice through a referendum

TERRACE city council has confirmed its position it won’t put the issue of whether or not to continue fluoridating the city’s water supply to a referendum.

By a 6-1 vote at a regular council meeting March 14, the confirmation followed a decision made at a committee of the whole meeting the week before.

Councillor Lynne Christiansen was the only councillor in favour of a holding a referendum, saying that while she has mixed feelings on the value of the chemical to prevent tooth decay and is aware of studies both for and against the practice, she felt city residents should have a choice in deciding what they ingest.

“It’s a bit frustrating, because I knew there are a lot of people in the community who don’t want it,” she said, but added that she knew before the vote she would be the only councillor favouring a referendum.

“I wasn’t shocked, I knew I was the only one,” Christiansen said of her lone vote.

She did note there is a global movement away from using fluoride in water supplies.

Councillors Michael Prevost, Stacey Tyers, Brian Downie, James Cordeiro and Sean Bujtas as well as mayor Carol Leclerc voted against the referendum idea.

Leclerc said the chemical’s tooth decay prevention properties are a benefit to the lower income population of the city.

The city pays $30,000 annually to run the program and $20,000 for the fluoride itself.

The referendum proposal was brought to council by local anti-fluoride advocate Barry Prince who backed his call with a petition of 422 hundred names, 260 of those being Terrace residents and the majority of the others from Thornhill and the regional district.

It’s the third time Prince has tried to convince council to hold a referendum, saying the use of fluoride is harmful to the human system.

Terrace first started fluoridating its water in 1964/1965 following a referendum and reaffirmed that decision with another referendum in 2003.

It is now one of only four communities in B.C. to fluoridate water.

Christiansen felt the timing of the vote, conducted just after a University of Alberta study was released showing that tooth decay had increased in Calgary since it stopped fluoridating its water in 2011, further cemented the position taken by the other council members and the mayor.

“I think they would have to organize a bit more strongly and focus on the next council,” said Christiansen about the possibility of another referendum call some day.






Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ellis Ross (left), BC Liberal party, celebrated with his wife, Tracey after being named the preliminary winner of the 2020 snap provincial election. (Cameron Ehl photo)
Ross named preliminary winner of snap election

BC Liberals’ Ellis Ross named the re-elected MLA for Skeena riding

Voting has officially closed throughout B.C. for the 2020 snap provincial election. (Clare Rayment)
Map of Skeena polling stations

Watch the updates on the map below as polling stations are counted throughout Skeena riding

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read