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Acadian group would like more bilingual signage in Municipality of Argyle

A bilingual road sign in the Municipality of Argyle. Organizers of the 2024 World Acadian Congress – to be jointly hosted by the municipalities of Argyle and Clare – would like to see more bilingual signage in the Municipality of Argyle in advance of the 2024 congress.
A bilingual road sign in the Municipality of Argyle. Organizers of the 2024 World Acadian Congress – to be jointly hosted by the municipalities of Argyle and Clare – would like to see more bilingual signage in the Municipality of Argyle in advance of the 2024 congress. - Eric Bourque

The Municipality of Argyle will look into a request that there be more bilingual road signs in the municipality in preparation for the 2024 Congrès mondial acadien (World Acadian Congress), which will be jointly hosted by the municipalities of Clare and Argyle.

The request came from the Conseil acadien de Par-en-Bas (CAPEB), which had engaged two students this summer to examine road signs in the Municipality of Argyle, identifying which are unilingual and which are bilingual. CAPEB would like all road signs in the municipality to be bilingual by the time of the Acadian congress in 2024.

At its Sept. 10 meeting, Argyle council passed a motion to have the warden reach out to board representatives from CAPEB (optionally including the Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse) to organize a joint meeting of council and the board to discuss road name changes and other matters relating to the 2024 Acadian congress.

In a report prepared for council, Alain Muise, the Municipality of Argyle’s chief administrative officer, cited a number of matters for council to consider.

One of them pertains to language, culture and tourism.

“Clearly, this is the area that CAPEB is focusing on – to increase awareness that our communities are bilingual, and to celebrate that through ensuring our road signage is bilingual,” Muise said in his report to council.

This likely would be a multi-year project and, given the anticipated value of the World Acadian Congress in terms of tourism, there could be a number of funding options to help pay for the signage work, council was told.

Safety is a consideration too. When looking at a signage change that involves more than just adding the word “chemin” (the French word for road), Muise said, “we need to understand the impact on emergency services, and their ability to find those residents on that street.”

Another thing to think about is public engagement. While CAPEB might want to change a name to make it more francophone, Muise said, this may not be the preference of the people who live there.

“Any significant changes to road sign names ought to follow our name-changing policies, which require the majority of residents to agree,” Muise said.

Marla MacInnis, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, says a request for bilingual community boundary signs and road name signs would be considered after a formal request is submitted to TIR from the municipality.

“Once the request is received and the scope of the work is better understood, discussions around costs and timeline would take place with the municipality,” she said. “The timeline can vary, depending on other scheduled maintenance and operations work in the district.”

Nova Scotia does not use bilingual or French regulatory signs (stop signs etc.)

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