Calgary city councillors could decide on moving ahead with the addition of fluoride into Calgary’s water supply at Monday’s combined meeting of council.
An administration report is recommending that council direct administration to begin the process.
The matter was voted on by Calgarians in October’s municipal election. Sixty-two per cent of voters approved the reintroduction. All wards voted in favour of it.
It was removed from Calgary’s water supply in 2011.
In a report to council, “Administration estimated the overall cost including capital, operating and maintenance to reintroduce water fluoridation at both water treatment plants with a 20-year service life is estimated at $30.1 million in 2020 dollars, plus $2 to $4 million dollars for lifecycle fluoridation maintenance activities.”
Conceptual capital costs were estimated at $10.1 million, with an accuracy of +50 per cent to -30 per cent (between $7 million to $15 million).
Administration said the costs would not require a water utility rate increase. The process would take 18-24 months to complete.
What will councillors do?
Many councillors suggested during the campaign they would defer to voters before deciding.
“I think this referendum, this plebiscite, will tell us what our residents feel,” said Ward 5’s Raj Dhaliwal, prior to the election.
“And that’s what my position will be.”
For others, like Ward 6 Coun. Richard Pootmans, the answer to the question was simple: “For fluoride,” he said.
Prior to the campaign, Ward 12’s Evan Spencer said that he wanted to see the data. He didn’t know enough about the issue at the time.
“I kind of tend towards the ‘let’s just leave it’ and encourage… make sure you take care of your kids and your dental hygiene at home,” he said on the campaign trail in April.
The campaign also saw the entry of Third Party Advertiser Fluoride Yes!
“This is a victory for community health and a positive change for our city,” a news release the day after read.
The plebiscite vote was not binding and councillors do not have to vote in favour of reintroducing fluoride on Monday.