Goodbye Asbestos, hello Val-des-Sources: Que. town changing infamous name

Pablo Tucker
October 23, 2020

Canadian place Asbestos (German: Asbestos) is to be renamed after a referendum of its population in Val-des-Sources (German: Valley of the sources).

"As citizens are the ambassadors of a municipality and are the representatives of its vitality, it was obvious that the public would be involved in the process and the choice of the new name", Mayor Hugues Grimard said past year.

The town of over 7,000 residents has been looking to shed its association with the toxic mineral due to its negative impact on people's health.

The community, part of The Eastern Townships, has nearly 7,000 citizens and is home to the Jeffrey Mine - once one of the world's largest asbestos mines.

The town was once the location of the world's largest asbestos mine.

Asbestos residents over the age of 14 and local property owners were eligible to cast their votes among six proposed names: L'Azur-des-Cantons, Jeffrey-sur-le-Lac, Larochelle, Phenix, Trois-Lacs and Val-des-Sources. The commission will have 60 days to give its opinion of the new name, the town's statement says.

The city says its name, specifically in English-speaking circles, prevents the town from developing foreign business.

Val-des-Sources, which refers to the fact that the city is situated near the sources of a trio of lakes, took home 51.5% of the vote.

Long used in building materials such as ceiling tiles and cement, asbestos is now banned in many countries.

"Not only will our town change its name, but we did it in a unique way", said mayor Hugues Grimard.

"Once the notice has been received", the city said, "the municipality will forward its official name change request to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing", who will make a final decision.

Almost 2,800 residents cast their votes between October 14 to 18.

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