The Society

HRM, former residents reach deal on Africville reparations

METRO HALIFAX - PAUL MCLEOD        
Mon. Feb 22, 2010

A long-sought reparation deal to former residents of Africville now seems imminent.

An offer was tabled by HRM to former Africville residents and their families, who voted on it at a meeting Saturday. Africville Geneology Society president Irvine Carvery said the deal received 80 per cent approval from the approximately 150 people in attendance.

Carvery, who has fought for Africville reparations since 1985, described the news as “absolutely fantastic.”

“For me it’s very gratifying that the vision that the society has and I have for the future of Africville can now go ahead,” he said yesterday.

“It allows the people of Africville to move into the future, and this is going to create a legacy for future generations of people from Africville.”

The offer must now go back to council for a ratification vote, which could come as early as tomorrow. It is believed to include a $3-million payment and some municipal land. Neither Carvery nor HRM Mayor Peter Kelly would comment yesterday on the details of the agreement.

But Kelly did say that HRM is eager to bring it to completion.

“We have been working for quite some time to bring this issue to resolve,” Kelly said yesterday.

“We would like to bring it to a close as soon as possible.”

Residents of the black community of Africville were relocated in the 1960s. Their former homes were bulldozed to make room for the MacKay Bridge. The area has since been declared a national historic site.

Carvery said it took a lot of hard work to win a deal from city hall after decades of negotiations. He said a major turning point was a 2004 United Nations report urging the government to pay reparations to former Africville residents.

“That was the catalyst, I think, that got the federal government and provincial government involved in it,” said Carvery.

Memorial
The federal government announced yesterday it is contributing $250,000 to support the creation of the Africville Heritage Trust, which will be used to help establish a lasting memorial to Africville. Defence Minister Peter MacKay made the announcement in Halifax.    – The Canadian Press

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