The community's position on water fluoridation in the Hastings will become clear after a poll as part of the September council election.
Voters will be asked in a community poll: "Would you prefer that council stop adding fluoride (hydrofluorosilicic acid) to the public water supply?"
Water fluoridation began in the Hastings in February 2012 after Port Macquarie-Hastings Council referred the decision to the state government.
The NSW Department of Health subsequently directed the council to fluoridate its drinking water supply.
Water fluoridation has long been a controversial topic in the Hastings.
Anti-fluoridation campaigner John Lusk is delighted with the community poll decision.
"It's democratic, it's transparent and I applaud the council," he said.
Mr Lusk wants the council to stage a public forum ahead of the poll with equal exposure for both sides of the argument.
A report to the Wednesday, March 18 council meeting said any poll question on stopping the addition of fluoride to the public water supply would be able to gauge the community's opinion, however it was noted there was an approval process which would need to be followed to enable the council to cease fluoridation.
Under the act, a water utility may not cease fluoridation unless the direction is revoked by NSW Health.
A water utility can ask NSW Health to revoke a direction to fluoridate a water supply.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann said the community poll question was an opportunity to get people's preference and the council would be able to consider what to do on the basis of that preference.
Cr Intemann said this was a very legitimate poll question.
But Cr Turner said he thought it would lead the public up the garden path.
He said adding the community poll's cost in the order of $60,000 on top of the election cost was not good value for money.
Mayor Peta Pinson said there was a cost to the council's operation to add fluoride to the drinking water.
"This is an opportunity for them [voters] to have their say - yes or no," she said.
"We may be surprised with the answer."
Cr Peter Alley said the proper advice was for people to talk to their local state member, put together a petition and with 10,000 signatures there could be a debate on the floor of parliament.
Crs Lee Dixon, Sharon Griffiths, Lisa Intemann and mayor Peta Pinson voted in favour of the water fluoridation community poll decision, with Peter Alley, Justin Levido and Rob Turner against.
The poll result is not binding on the council.
NSW Health's correspondence to the council said NSW Health strongly encouraged water utilities to add fluoride to water supplies allowing communities to receive the proven benefits of fluoride.
The council decided against having a community poll question about the east-west link (orbital) road between Ocean Drive and the Oxley Highway.
Crs Alley, Intemann and Levido voted in favour and Crs Dixon, Griffiths, Turner and mayor Peta Pinson were against.
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