The Ministry of Tourism says no official decision has been made to scrub the name of explorer and industrialist Charles Bedaux from provincial maps.
Controversy arose last year around the Mount Bedaux and Bedaux Pass landmarks in Northeast B.C., with the province citing concerns the names commemorate an accused war criminal with ties to Nazi Germany.
Ministry spokesperson Corinna Filion said no timeline has been set for a decision.
“No official date but the process usually takes a couple months from the stage it is at now,” she wrote. “The ministry has concluded the community comment period and is now reviewing the comments submitted and determining if there are any follow ups required.”
The two sites are located at the headwaters of the Muskwa River in Kwadacha Wilderness Provincial Park, and named after the French-American industrialist Charles Bedaux, who in 1934 led an infamous subarctic expedition through the region.
Bedaux, however, was later arrested for treason by the U.S. during the Second World War, and was accused of aligning his business interests and conspiring with Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied France. He committed suicide in 1944 in a Florida prison while awaiting trial.
The Peace River Regional District was consulted over the relevance of the names, which initially saw ‘no real problem’ in removing Bedaux’s name, with the exception that the 1934 expedition remains relevant to the region’s history.
In January, PRRD directors were asked by residents to revisit the renaming proposal, receiving several letters and phone calls.
Retired guide outfitter Ross Peck expressed his concern over the PRRD’s decision, noting the work of the Hudson’s Hope Historical Society in developing an award-winning exhibit on the Bedaux Expedition in 2009.
“Maintaining the Bedaux name on the topographic features in question serves as a reminder of the notable contributions of this rich and colourful expedition. Removal would leave a significant gap in B.C. history as well as the landscape,” said Peck.
However, PRRD directors had already agreed last November to send a letter to the province that rescinding the names of the landmarks were no concern, and under board procedure policy, could not revisit the item.
Another avenue remained, as municipal councils could individually express their dissatisfaction with the province’s consideration to rescind the names.
“This is history, and you can’t erase history by removing a name. So that’s the whole being of these letters, is we have history, it happened, we need to recognize it and not try to change what’s already historical,” said Electoral Area B Director Karen Goodings.