Fluoridation debate coming

A debate over whether the City of Red Deer should continue fluoridating water goes public in mid-September.

A debate over whether the City of Red Deer should continue fluoridating water goes public in mid-September.

The city started fluoridating water in the mid-1950s after holding a plebiscite on the issue, said Tara Shand, acting communications manager.

In recent months, council has been reviewing the issues surrounding whether the city should continue fluoridating water, including a series of public consultations, Shand said on Tuesday.

A day has now been set up for citizens to hear both sides of the debate and then express their wishes directly to the mayor and council.

Two experts — one in support of fluoridation and the other against it — will give their views in a public forum set for the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Sheraton Hotel.

James Beck, a professor of medical biophysics at the University of Calgary, will join Digby Horne, a medical officer of health with the Alberta Health Services Central Zone to give opposing views on the issue from noon until 1:30.

The session reconvenes at 5 p.m. with the mayor and city council to form a panel to hear from people who would like to address the fluoridation issue.

Results of the discussion will be included in a recommendation to be debated during one of council’s regular meetings in October. Council will decide at that time how to proceed with the issue.

The course of action could include putting the question to a plebiscite, said Shand.

Council meets on Oct. 1 and 17. City officials have not yet decided on which of the two dates to bring the fluoridatioDBS shuts down analog n issue forward, she said.