A metropolis named Asbestos: Debate over identify change turns poisonous

A city named Asbestos: Debate over name change turns toxic



(Source) — You’d suppose something can be higher than having your city named after a extremely poisonous constructing materials, however the residents of Asbestos, Canada, may disagree.

The townspeople on this unusually monikered Quebecois metropolis will vote in October on a brand new city identify, because the unfavourable connotations have lengthy been hindering enterprise and tourism endeavors.

The selections chosen by the municipal council, nonetheless, are proving controversial.

The metropolis initially grew from the event of an asbestos mine round a big deposit of the substance found there in 1897. For many years, the city thrived on asbestos mining and product manufacturing.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, however very poisonous, substance as soon as extensively used for insulation. It’s been banned in Canada since 2018.

When inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers can become trapped in the body, and will finally trigger genetic injury to the physique’s cells. Exposure might also trigger mesothelioma, a uncommon and aggressive type of most cancers.
Having reviewed a whole bunch of solutions, on September 14 the council unveiled the four proposals that made the reduce: Apalone, Jeffrey, Phénix and Trois-Lacs.

All residents over the age of 14 can be allowed to vote on the brand new identify between October 14 and 18.

“I am very happy with the approach we have adopted throughout the process and especially with the involvement of our population. I invite our citizens to come and vote in large numbers!,” stated Mayor Hugues Grimard in an announcement.

Reaction on Facebook, nonetheless, has not been constructive.

In this Francophone city, “ridicule!” (“ridiculous!”) is a recurring phrase within the feedback.

Apalone, which is in honor of an indigenous species of turtle, was steered by Greenpeace Canada. Lyne Dion is not impressed, writing: “I wouldn’t be proud to say that I live in a soft turtle city.”

Jeffrey refers to W. H. Jeffrey, who bankrolled the city’s Jeffrey asbestos mine.

Critics argue that this is able to be persevering with to shackle the city to its asbestos legacy and likewise honoring the cash males not directly linked to the deaths of many employees.

Phénix — Phoenix in English — is a straightforward reference to the mythic chicken of rebirth. Without any connection to native historical past, this additionally has proved an unsatisfying option to many citizens.

There have been cries on social media complaining of a “lack of transparency” concerning the council’s selections.

The ruckus has been such that the City of Asbestos’ common supervisor Georges-André Gagné was compelled on September 16 to concern a second assertion addressing the truth that “some people have expressed their disagreement with the names proposed” and “calling for a constructive and respectful debate.”

Alexandre Côte spoke for a number of of essentially the most vocal residents when he wrote on Facebook, “Honestly, it’s a setup to get Trois-Lacs! The rest of the names are really awful.”

However, the identify Trois-Lacs — after an area lake labeled by Le Journal de Montréal as “one of the worst in Quebec” — is not proving massively standard both.

All the kerfuffle has some residents declaring that they wish to preserve the city identify as it’s, poisonous historical past be damned.

Said Ginette Frichette, “I’m against the name change. I was born in Asbestos and I want to die in Asbestos.”

Source’s Elizabeth Wolfe and Brian Ries contributed to this report.

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