Quebec town Asbestos searches for a new name

UPI – Officials in a Quebec town called Asbestos said a planned vote on a new name for the municipality might be delayed after negative public reaction to the local council’s options: Phenix, Apalone, Trois-Lacs and Jeffery.

Mayor Hugues Grimard said on Friday, four days after the name options were unveiled, that the local council is looking into other potential names after some of the town’s 7,000 residents reacted negatively to the suggestions.

The names that were originally slated to be voted on October 14-18 were Phenix, the French version of the mythical fire bird Phoenix; Apalone, a species of turtle; Trois-Lacs, which means “Three Lakes” in English; and Jeffrey, the name of the man who operated the town’s first asbestos mine.

Town officials have long been discussing changing the name of Asbestos, which was named for the material originally mined in the town but has since come to be associated with deadly cancers. The official initiative to change the name began in November 2019, but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials said the vote, which will be open to all residents ages 14 and up, might be delayed while the local council comes up with new potential names.

“We’re all here today to tell the population that we’re listening, we’re not in an ivory tower,” Grimard told local radio station CJAN-FM. “The changing of a town’s name is a major one, we recognise that – we’re writing history.”

Officials in Asbestos said the process of choosing a new name for the municipality is facing a delay after negative public reaction to suggested names Phenix, Apalone, Trois-Lacs and Jeffery. PHOTO: UPI