The 77 New (and Not So New) Names for NB Local Government Agencies Revealed

The full list of proposed names for the 77 new local authorities and 12 rural districts was unveiled Wednesday afternoon at a news conference in Irishtown.

Many of those names are identical or nearly identical to the large communities they comprise.

Well-known titles such as Kedgwick, Campbellton and Belledune abound.

But the list of completely original names shows some clear patterns.

Rivière-du-Nord, Five Rivers, The Community of Three Rivers, Vallée-des-Rivières, Valley Waters, Miramichi River Valley, District of Tobique Valley and Butternut Valley are some of the names announced on Wednesday.

Daniel Allain, minister for local government and local government reform, is in front of the list of new names for 77 local authorities and 12 rural districts. (Shane Fowler/CBC News)

“So we have three Fundy’s and three Miramichi’s,” said Daniel Allain, minister for local government and local government reform.

“The creativity in these short months has been amazing,” he added right away.

Allain said the department had to adjust some of the names submitted because they were just too similar.

Arcadie had to be changed to Nouvelle-Arcadie because Arcadia had already been submitted by another community. Allain said minor changes also needed to be made to ensure that Miramichi, Miramichi River Valley and Upper Miramichi are sufficiently different from each other.

While many entities used rivers and valleys as muses, some simply took a less inspired route and chose to use the location within their respective province. That includes Central York and Sunbury-York South. District of Carleton North and the South Victoria Regional Community also took that route.

But if you’re looking for a little ironic humor in the province of rivers and valleys, look no further than Belle-Baie.

It echoes the name of a television drama filmed in northern New Brunswick that ran on Radio-Canada for four seasons.

Allain said there have been some “hot topics” and not everyone is happy, but “I would say 95 percent, everyone is happy and moving forward.”

“Today we celebrate a historic time because these names will be here, let’s hope, for the next hundred years,” said Allain.

Toponymist Maurice Basque, who studies place names, was one of two experts the province counted on for help with the naming process.

“If you choose a new name, it is not something superficial; a name is very important,” Basque said at the press conference.

Basque said the vast majority of New Brunswickers who worked to choose the new names were very careful to avoid names that would be considered offensive now or in the future.

Many also wanted names that were easy to pronounce.

“Why? Because it would be the children who would really give that new name a new personality, a real existence,” said Basque. “Easy to pronounce for newcomers [too]”This is very important for our province, where newcomers are also important.”

These proposed names are planned to become permanent in September as the local government reform process moves into the next phases. However, the county’s press release states that “Section 60 of the Local Governance Act gives a local government the ability to change names in the future if they so choose.”

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