The 77 new (and not so new) names for NB local government entities revealed

The complete list of proposed names for the 77 new local governments 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 encompass.

Familiar titles like Kedgwick, Campbellton, and Belledune abound.

But on the list of completely original names, some clear patterns emerge.

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 a few of the names announced Wednesday.

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

“So, we’ve got three Fundys and three Miramichis,” said Daniel Allain, minister of local government and local governance reform.

“The creativity in these short months has been great,” he added immediately.

Allain said the department did have to tweak some of the names submitted because they were simply too similar to one another.

Arcadie had to be changed to Nouvelle-Arcadie as Arcadia was already submitted by another community. Allain said small alterations also had to be made to ensure Miramichi, Miramichi River Valley, and Upper Miramichi were different enough from each other.

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

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

It’s mirrors the name of a television drama that was filmed in northern New Brunswick and ran for four seasons on Radio-Canada.

Allain said there have been some “hot topics” and not everyone is pleased, but “I would say 95 per cent, everybody’s happy and moving forward.”

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

Toponymist Maurice Basque, who studies place names, was one of the two experts the province relied on for assistance in the naming process.

“When you choose a new name it’s not something that is superficial; a name is very important,” said Basque at the news 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 the children would be the ones that 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 important also.”

These proposed names are scheduled to become permanent in September, as the local government reform process moves into its next stages. However, in the news release issued by the province it does note that “Section 60 of the Local Governance Act will allow for a local government to change its name in the future if they so choose.”

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