Fluoride battle to Court of Appeal
LISMORE anti-fluoride campaigner Al Oshlak has vowed to take his fight against the fluoridation of the Ballina, Lismore and Wardell water supply to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The veteran campaigner has also pledged "not to pay a cent" of the estimated $300,000 legal costs racked up by Rous Water and Ballina Shire Council that he was ordered to pay by the Land and Environment Court on Wednesday night.
The court dismissed an appeal brought by Mr Oshlak aimed at overturning approvals for fluoride to be added to water in the Lismore and Ballina council areas.
He had argued that Rous Water had wrongly believed, and told councillors, they could be legally liable for not approving the construction of the fluoride dosing plants after being instructed to do so by NSW Health.
Mr Oshlak, who argues that fluoride in even small amounts is dangerous, has urged supporters not to "panic" because he expects the appeal to be successful.
Lismore City Councillor David Yarnall, who crucially changed his vote at Rous' April 2010 meeting to approve fluoride, after he and other councillors were given written legal advice that they could be liable for fines of up to $500 a day until they approved it, maintained the process was a farce.
"The whole process where the health department forced Rous to vote for the dosing plants just makes a mockery of democracy," Cr Yarnall said.
Cr Yarnall said ratepayers would have to pay more than $250,000 a year to run and maintain the plants.
Rous Chairman Phillip Silver, who denies councillors were pressured into voting for fluoride, said the court decision was "very grati- fying, as it's been very stressful".
He said the cost of the dosing plants would not add much to the cost of water.
He was "cranky" with the Department of Health for placing local councils in a position of having to justify a NSW Health direction.
"Rous Water is not in the dental hygiene business; we're in the water business. We get dragged into it," he said.
The five dosing plants, which will cost $2.5 million to be funded by the Department of Health, will be located at Clunes, Dorroughby, Corndale, Knockrow and Marom Creek.
Tenders for the construction of the plants, which will be the size of the average domestic garage, are expected to be called within a month.
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