ASBESTOS — The Quebec town of Asbestos is tired of the negative connotation of its name – so it’s getting a new one. Town officials said in a news release Wednesday that municipal council has agreed to a name change following “several reflections and with a view to development oriented towards the future.”
Mayor Hugues Grimard said Wednesday the name carries an unfortunate connotation and it’s preventing the town from developing foreign business ties.
“If we want to go further in terms of economic development, then we don’t have the choice,” Grimard said in an interview. “The media attention of our past stays with us any time we do anything.”
Grimard said he knows of at least four businesses that wanted to move to the area but backed out after investors learned the town’s name. “I have a local development agent who went to Ohio and he tried to give his business card and people actually didn’t even want to take the card,” the mayor said.
The Eastern Townships community of some 7,000 people is home to the Jeffrey mine, which was once the world’s largest asbestos mine and the town’s largest employer. Because it’s a great electrical insulator, asbestos was commonly used in construction materials during the Industrial Era.