N.S. housing bill amended after concerns by Black community over gentrification

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia government bill has been amended to protect historic Black communities in the Halifax area from unwanted development.

Housing Minister John Lohr says the government decided on the amendment after receiving a letter expressing concern from the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition.

The legislation would allow the minister to nullify Halifax Regional Municipality bylaws if the province determines they would impede housing development and construction.

Vanessa Fells, director of operations for the coalition, says that without an amendment to the bill Black communities would be left vulnerable to gentrification.

Fells welcomed the amendment and said it’s vital the government understands the importance of working with the Black community on a wide range of issues, including development.

The legislation has also drawn objections from municipal officials in Halifax, including Mayor Mike Savage, who has called the bill undemocratic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press