Letter | Resentment remains and questions are still unanswered

I ATTENDED the September Oberon Council meeting and addressed the mayor and councillors, voicing my concerns as to their response to the questions raised from my previous presentation.

I must admit that I was disappointed and saddened.

It appears to me that there is a disregard not only for the needs and choices of people within the Oberon community but also a lack of understanding of council’s elected positions and roles of representing the voice and opinion of the community - a community who elected this council with the traditional expectation and good faith of being honestly and fairly represented regardless of councillors’ personal opinions.

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It has always been my intent, and that of the majority of people within the group that I represent, to engage in positive discussion that would see the concerns raised and discussed and possible errors of process and communication reviewed whilst ensuring that there is as much emphasis on the process as there is on the decision.

I will admit I do not fully understand the mode of processing matters such as this, however I did have an expectation that the issues raised would have been discussed in an open council, enabling the community to understand the individual views on the issues and as to how councillors perceive their role of being an “Oberon councillor”.

It would be appreciated if the council or the general manager could advise as to how the intended outcome could be achieved or what has to be changed to allow it to occur.

To avoid becoming involved in a debate at the expense of meaningful discussion, I do not wish to respond to the content in the reply other than to say that the comments and response were indirect and in some cases non-existent. 

They were the opinion of one person and will do nothing, in my opinion, to reduce the angst and resentment felt by those opposed to the decision.

In light of the town survey that was submitted to council on Tuesday, September 11 regarding the addition of fluoride to the town’s water supply, one could only assume that council is aware and concerned with the disharmony and resentment that is prevalent within their community caused by what can only be perceived as council imposing their own personal opinion on the community and, in doing so, taking away their individual democratic rights.

Perhaps now that council is armed with this recent and very valuable information from the town survey, they will consider reassessing and aiming to achieve what is the best way forward as a whole community as stated in the Community Strategic Plan “Making Our Future Together”.

I have supplied my email for response to the above and the following questions.

What does each councillor believe are their roles and functions as a councillor in regards to representing the Oberon people and their community?

In the name of transparency and total honesty, has council already or are they willing to provide a complete list to the residents of Oberon of all the ingredients and chemicals that will be added to the town’s water supply through the fluoridation process along with the place of origin of the intended ingredients?

Is council willing to review their decision to fluoridate Oberon’s reticulated water supply, taking into consideration the results from the recent town survey and, if not, can the reasoning of disregard for the extremely high statistics of 76 per cent against please be explained?

I do hold faith that our council is acting with what they believe to be in the best interest of the community, but ask that they are able to go beyond their own beliefs and respect those of every individual by representing their choices and by not taking away the foundation of what this town is built on: freedom of choice.

It is with great community passion and a hopeful heart I request Oberon Council to withdraw their application to NSW Health for approval to fluoridate Oberon’s water supply.

Racheal Maher