Friday, November 11, 2011

City votes to keep fluoride in our water

TORONTO - The city’s budget committee flushed a surprise motion Thursday to remove fluoride from Toronto’s water supply.

But the committee did approve a 9% increase in water rates and a garbage rate freeze.

The residential garbage rate freeze comes with a price, councillors voted to toss out pickup of extra recyclables that don’t fit in residents’ blue bins and to drop the number of community environment days from 44, one in each councillors’ ward, to just 11 across the city.

Currently, Toronto residents can leave overflow recyclables in clear plastic bags for free pickup when they put out their blue bins.

Budget chief Mike Del Grande tried unsuccessfully to get the committee to remove fluoride from the water - a move that would save around $2 million.

“I have difficulty with putting anything in anything that is not required to be there,” Del Grande said. “It’s not the 1940’s and 1930’s or whatever where people’s teeth were rotting, etc. There is toothpaste that has fluoride in them, there is all kinds of other things.”

Del Grande argued council, not the public health board, needs to have a debate on fluoride in the water supply.

“Why take fluoride into your body if you don’t have to? That’s my position,” he said.

After the committee voted down his motion, Del Grande said he won’t push the issue at executive committee.

Councillor Chin Lee voted against the two budgets and said he’s not sure whether he’ll support them at city council.

Councillor Gord Perks described the approved garbage budget as “a big whopping increase for tenants and no increase for homeowners.”

He argued with a “modest increase” in the garbage fees the city could still provide pickup of extra recyclables from single-family homes.

Councillor Mike Layton was baffled staff would suggest getting rid of overflow recycling pickup.

“You gotta be joking, seriously,” Layton told the committee.

Public Works chairman Denzil Minnan-Wong said residents can get a bigger bin if their blue bin is overflowing with recyclables.

“Or they’ll have to wait until the next go around,” he said.

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