HALIFAX — Former Africville residents are asking the city to close a dog park on the site of their former community.
“Something must be done,” said Irvine Carvery, president of the Africville Genealogy Society. “When [the Africville residents] come down here for our celebrations … we’re cleaning up the mess that is left by the dogs.”
Now, city councillor Jennifer Watt said that city staff are studying the possible relocation of the off-leash dog area at Seaview Memorial Park.
“Staff are looking into it now,” she said.
Many dog owners say the park has the perfect size, location and amenities and would be disappointed to see it close or move.
Laura Chisholm said she brings her 10-month-old puppy Pilot to the park each day.
“We like the open space and it’s very close by so it’s convenient,” she said.
Both groups agree the majority of dog owners responsibly pick up their dogs’ waste. But frustrated Africville residents say the few owners that forget or choose not to pick up after their dogs are making the historic site a messy place to visit.
City staff are currently studying the feasibility of relocating the off-leash park. Once complete, public engagement sessions could take place and then community council could vote on whether to advance the matter to regional council. There is no clear timeline on when the staff report will be finished.
For 150 years, Africville was home to a tight-knit black community. About 400 residents were displaced in the 1960s, when Africville was torn down to make way for the Mackay bridge. In 2010, Halifax officially apologized to former residents, paving the way for the renaming of the park the following year.
© Shaw Media, 2014