Letter | Now is the time for our councillors to listen

PLEASE, I ask would you publish my letter, because I am angry, cross and disappointed.

I am angry because this issue (fluoride) was raised around four years ago and it was decided not to fluoridate the water. It seems because there is a new council elected, the state government sees an opportunity to strike again and force fluoridation of our town water supply. Disappointed because our councillors are making the situation worse, stalling and not providing a proper method of gaining the community’s opinions. Allowing the community to become divided. Not having a public meeting to gain the community’s view. Using a strategic planning meeting to have dentists from out of town attend. This was our opportunity to express our ideas on the future of our town. 

We now have Bathurst dentists telling us we have more cavities than Bathurst residents. Now this is a rather alarming statement. However, if one sits and thinks about it with just the population number comparison, this is rather a brave statement to make – 40,000 compared to 5000. One has to assume that at least one Bathurst dentist is servicing all 5000 people from Oberon. I doubt this. You might note they have not provided any figures to illustrate their claim.

Worse than the above is the fact that now we have the media all over this story (a community divided or all the cavities here in Oberon), showing us, the people of Oberon, to be what exactly? People who know nothing about dental health, people who would dare to say no to fluoridated water? Indicating we are ignorant country folk? Now I am pretty sure this is not the case. I observed on the Western Advocate’s Facebook page one fellow saying he sees some pretty ordinary looking smiles in Oberon, indicating bad dental health. I made a comment saying I believe there are some very good smiles in Oberon.

I have paid particular attention to many of the young people in Oberon and have only recently made the comment to Bruce that young people today have really good teeth; their smiles clearly show this. Many having had braces put on their teeth. Now I am sure the many young folk with braces do not have lots of cavities. 

I am angry because we are being portrayed as ignorant people living in a community that has no pride or care for their own health. This is not true. It is not true.

Our nine councillors have done nothing at all to stop this media frenzy. Why, one may ask. I have been speaking with many locals and the opinion is this: our councillors do nothing about this situation because it goes along with their plan to fluoridate our town water supply. Well, councillors, you too are included in this crazy media business, you too are being classified as ignorant, wilful people. It is time you put a stop to it, now. You should be making sure Oberon is not put in the media with such rubbish and without any facts or figures to support these claims.

We do not need to have all this scientific information provided to us. We are capable people able to make our own decision. We have learnt from a very recent past incident where the state government was going to walk over us, and that situation was forced amalgamation and well and truly planned by our very own local member, Nationals’ Paul Toole.

We have a choice in this decision. Do not give up your right to a democratic right to have your say. The right to a choice is important. We should hold it tightly and not give it away. 

It is simple when deciding on fluoridation or not. If council decides to place fluoride in our water supply then those who do not want it have no choice, they have to drink the water. If the water supply is not fluoridated, those who want fluoride have a choice and at least two options:

1. Visit a dentist to have fluoride applied directly to their teeth.

2. Purchase good fluoride toothpaste, use it and do not swallow it. 

Oberon’s nine councillors should put a stop to all this mad media rubbish. They should speak and listen to the community. This is what you all promised when you were looking for our votes. It is now time to listen and learn. You are entitled to your opinion, however, it is only worth one opinion. You are not expected to have the wisdom of Solomon. You are, however, expected to listen to the community and represent their views. 

We fought hard to maintain our right to our own local government. Do not let us down. Do not let the media portray us as ignorant, backward people.

Marjorie Armstrong