Africville supporters look to bright future after park fences dismantled
Published Friday, February 26, 2016 7:38PM AST
Last Updated Friday, February 26, 2016 9:02PM AST
HALIFAX, N.S. -- Africville Park in Halifax can now become a full heritage center for African-Nova Scotians, thanks to the dismantling of a park fence Friday afternoon.
"I’m thrilled,” said Sunday Miller, executive director of the Africville Heritage Trust. “It's something that we've been working on with HRM for at least a year, if not more.”
For years, part of Africville was a controversial off-leash dog park.
“Looking out, and realizing that there were four off-leash dogs running around, I made the call and the next day we had some more off-leash dogs running around,” said Miller.
That park was officially decommissioned December 2014 after concerns from Africville supporters who said it was an inappropriate use of sacred ground.
The changes mean the fence around the children's play area, which had originally been set up to protect children from roaming dogs, can also be removed.
With the fences now down, Africville supporters say they look towards a bright future for the one-time black community.
City councillor Jennifer Watts says removing the park fence was the right thing to do, and a final statement that it’s no longer an off-leash dog park.
“There is that sort of smooth flow of people from the museum from the site of the church into the park,” said Watts, “It just opens it up in a much different way.”
Irvine Cavery, president of the Africville Genealogy Society, looks to the future as well to the past, saying there will also be an opportunity for an archaeological dig.
“We need to identify significant sites throughout the community of Africville, and mark them,” he says. "We’re taking a look to see the possibility of doing an archeological dig in Seaview Lookoff, because again, that's Africville."
Oral traditions and written records place the first families in Africville in the mid-to-late eighteenth century. All families were moved out in the 1960’s in the name of urban renewal.
With files from CTV’s Ron Shaw.