Asbestos, now Val-des-Sources, celebrates its 125th anniversary

Asbestos, now Val-des-Sources, celebrates its 125th anniversary
Asbestos, now Val-des-Sources, celebrates its 125th anniversary

Asbestos, which became Val-des-Sources almost four years ago, is celebrating its 125th anniversary of founding.

For the occasion, inflatable games and shows will entertain the population.

We have citizens who are proud to be here and who are proud to be Valsourciens, but who are still proud to have been born in Asbestos, so that is what we want to highlight today.says Caroline Payeur from the organizing committee of the 125th anniversary celebrations in Val-des-Sources.

Citizens take the opportunity to recall the significant historical moments that have shaken the municipality over the decades.

The president of the Asbestos Historical Society, Mario Leblanc, first cites the tough conflict of 1949 at John’s Manville. The asbestos strike gave rise to one of the first challenges to the government of Maurice Duplessis.

It was the beginning of the Quiet Revolution and it marked history for that because of the working conditions, health and safety at work, wages. People fought for that, underlines Mario Leblanc.

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Aerial view of the Jeffrey asbestos mine in Asbestos, in 1954

Photo: The Canadian Press

In 1971 and 1975, the expansion of the mine caused major landslides in the municipality. A harsh reminder of the risks involved in living near an open-pit mine. I experienced it as an incredible stroke of luck. There were zero injuries, zero deaths in a disaster. nuance Mario Leblanc.

In 1978, the municipality lost 40 citizens in a bus accident in Eastman. The crowded vehicle plunged into Lac d’Argent in the middle of the night. It was an absolutely incredible loss, but that is the resilience of Asbestos and Val-des-Sources. underlines the deputy of Richmond, André Bachand.

Then, in 2012, the closure of the Jeffrey mine led the municipality to look to the future and diversify its economy. A few years ago we dreamed of where we wanted to be and we wake up a few years later and we have surpassed our dreams thinks Mayor Hugues Grimard.

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The huge hole left by the Jeffrey mine in Val-des-Sources, in the Eastern Townships, could experience a new life

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Sébastien Cloutier

What economic future for the municipality?

For the future, the mayor dreams of solar panels on the land of the former Jeffrey mine and hopes to install wind turbines on his territory.

I will not be able to have the unanimity of the population, but it takes a majority to be able to move forward. he argues.

The asbestos residues still present in Val-des-Sources remain in the news. Transforming these residues into magnesium is a project in which many still believe, even after the failures of Magnola and the setbacks of Tergeo, formerly Alliance Magnésium.

Magnesium is a goal that the Quebec government will continue to pursue. We don’t know how. Asbestos gave birth to us, hurt us too, but is in the process of resurrecting us. thinks MP André Bachand.

He says the government could announce good news in this regard this fall. However, he believes that several small projects related to this resource are likely to see the light of day, rather than that of a single large company.

With information from Jean Arel

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