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Voters say no to fluoridation

Prince George residents rejected public water fluoridation in a referendum on Saturday.
fluoride molecule

Prince George residents rejected public water fluoridation in a referendum on Saturday.

In February 2013, city council agreed to put a question on the 2014 civic election ballot asking voters if they were in favour of the city of Prince George fluoridating its water supply.

According to unofficial results, 10,171 people voted in opposition, with 8,764 votes cast in favour of the practice.

"We were predicting a victory and we got that," said Dave Fuller, co-owner of Ave Maria and one of the proponents behind the anti-fluoride campaign. "We know the people of Prince George have said what we thought for a long time - that the majority of people do not want fluoridation in the water and will be happy to see it removed."

When the first unofficial results were released Saturday night from the three days of advanced polling, the Yes side was holding the lead.

"I was actually out picking up our signs because I had a little bit of nervous energy," said Fuller about where he was when he received a call about the early numbers.

He said his first thought was those votes were the effect of the Say Yes coalition's campaign reaching post-secondary students.

Canada's chief dental officer Dr. Paul Cooney gave a presentation at UNBC on Nov. 12 on oral health, including the benefits of water fluoridation.

"I wasn't too worried at that point," Fuller said. "Definitely it's wonderful to see the swing was in favour of us."

The referendum is non-binding, meaning future city councils aren't required to follow the results.

But Fuller said those who let their names stand of mayor and council indicated they would be abiding by the will of the electorate.

"So we expect them to just that - to honour that vote and to stop fluoridation in Prince George," Fuller said.