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African Nova Scotians still lack promised city office
By MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE City Hall Reporter
Setting up Halifax city hall’s African-Nova Scotian affairs office remains a work in progress.
A municipal spokeswoman said Wednesday the mandate of the new part of civic government is being worked on by city staff, as is the job description for the person who will staff the office.
"We are now working on the job description and getting feedback on it," Shaune MacKinlay said in an email message.
The municipal office of African-Nova Scotian affairs is part of Halifax Regional Municipality’s 2011-12 budget. It is being established under terms of the Africville compensation package announced last year.
Mayor Peter Kelly has said the new staffer will work with black organizations and other groups dedicated to improving race relations in the Halifax area.
"It will be a process engaging the community," the mayor told The Chronicle Herald last month. "So this will be a multi-stakeholdered approach that we will use to delve further into some of these issues and challenges."
The office will be part of the chief administrative officer’s business unit, said Kelly.
Asked how much money is being earmarked for the office, MacKinlay couldn’t say.
City hall used to have a volunteer race relations advisory committee but that group is defunct.
The Africville agreement, which included a formal apology Kelly delivered last year, was an out-of-court settlement that covered reparations for residents of the former north-end neighbourhood and their descendants.
No individual compensation was given.
Africville was razed in the 1960s in the name of urban renewal. A sundial monument in what is now Seaview Park pays tribute to the area’s founding families.
Changing the park’s name back to Africville is another part of the redress deal.
Last month, the Africville Heritage Trust asked activist Eddie Carvery to vacate the section of the park he’s long occupied so a $4.5-million memorial project can proceed. The volunteer group is working toward having a church replica ready for the annual Africville reunion in July.
Carvery moved his small encampment nearby to a parcel of land owned by the Halifax Port Authority.
According to Statistics Canada, the Halifax region’s population in 2006 was 369,455. Of those residents, 13,270 were African-Nova Scotian — about 3.5 per cent.