Regina City Council faced a daunting agenda on Wednesday with several contentious issues on the docket.
Council first discussed water fluoridation, aiming to join other cities like Saskatoon and Moose Jaw in the practice.
After lengthy debate, council approved the motion 10-1. Councillor Landon Mohl was the only one opposed.
One strong advocate of fluoridation was Ward 2 Councillor Bob Hawkins, who says passing the motion is one of his proudest accomplishments in his nine-year tenure.
“It’s hugely important. The bottom line is we listened to the very best scientific advice, we realized that we could put the minimal amount of fluoride in the water that will mean that our children and our grandchildren, for generations to come, will have strong, healthy teeth,” said Hawkins. “That will affect the quality in their life, for the whole of their lifetime.”
While Regina may be years behind in fluoridating their drinking water, Hawkins says all that matters is that council decided to do it now.
Hawkins adds the most important part of approving the practice is it means those less fortunate can take better care of their teeth.
“My kids were always covered by dental insurance, they always had great dental care, not every child is that privileged,” said Hawkins. “Some children don’t have dental care, some children don’t have access to dentists, some children never learn good dental hygiene. Those children will now be protected. This is a great equality advancement for the children of our city.”
In addition to water fluoridation, City Council made the historic decision to ban conversion therapy in Regina.
Council passed the bylaw with a vote of 10-1, Councillor Landon Mohl was again the odd one out.
Mayor Sandra Masters says she happy to have reached the decision, ending months of tense emotional debate.
“I’m very happy to have that done and behind us, I’ve heard from some folks that maybe it’s symbolic,” said Masters. “I’m very happy to express that symbolic gesture from city council that we want to send that message of inclusion and acceptance, and take a stand against any abusive, or any, form of conversion therapy here in the City of Regina.”
Masters says passing the bylaw was an easy decision, and it was calming knowing the historic motion would be passed.
“We knew where council sat as a majority, and had, kind of, an ease of mind going into today, knowing that it would pass with majority,” said Masters.
Council was set to discuss the relocation of the rail line on Ring Road but decided to table it until the next meeting.