Potential land exchange

The following is a joint statement by the Africville Heritage Trust, the Halifax Port Authority and the Halifax Regional Municipality:  

Following interest expressed by the Africville Heritage Trust regarding property adjacent to the Africville Museum, the Halifax Port Authority has proposed a land exchange with the Halifax Regional Municipality in the area of Fairview Cove near historic Africville.

The municipality’s African Nova Scotian Affairs Integration Office (ANSAIO) is playing an integral role in supporting discussions that keep historic Africville, the Africville Museum, and Africville Park at the forefront of consideration.

Should the proposed land exchanges proceed – involving the Africville Heritage Trust, the Halifax Port Authority and the Halifax Regional Municipality – the municipality will first engage in stakeholder and community consultation to inform any decisions regarding potential future uses of these lands. The lands being discussed include the Halifax Port Authority’s new landmass (which includes existing and future infill lands), the expanded Africville Heritage Trust lands and the municipal land intended to be transferred to the Halifax Port Authority (see map below).

Halifax Regional Council has asked staff to return with a recommendation report regarding next steps. The report is anticipated to be presented in the latter half of 2021. Any recommended transactions are subject to approval by Halifax Regional Council.

It is too soon to speak to potential future uses of the area as further planning and research must be completed prior to engaging in any community consultation. Information will be shared, as it becomes available.

Map of historic Africville

There are three proposed land transactions under consideration by the three parties (Africville Heritage Trust, the Halifax Port Authority and the Halifax Regional Municipality):

  1. Halifax Port Authority (HPA) proposes to exchange its new landmass (which includes existing and future infill lands) for nearby Halifax Regional Municipality land (not including a portion which is being sought by the Africville Heritage Trust)
  2. Africville Heritage Trust (AHT) seeks to acquire a portion of Halifax Regional Municipality land , located next to Africville Museum as well as the HPA’s new landmass (these lands are labeled with a ‘star’  in the accompanying map).
  3. HPA suggests that if the proposed exchange between the municipality and HPA occurs, the Municipality might consider transferring title of all or part of the new landmass (which includes existing and future infill lands) to AHT.

Related Projects

Although discussions with the Halifax Port Authority and Africville Heritage Trust regarding the potential future use of these lands are not directly tied to the Windsor Street Exchange project or the Africville Active Transportation project, there are interrelationships that must be considered due to the close geographic proximity. The Windsor Street Exchange project and the Africville AT project are working to improve access to the area for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, which will be considered when evaluating potential future uses of the properties.

Learn more about these complementary projects:

Common Questions 

What is the municipality’s parcel of land currently being used for? 

The land is currently being used by the municipality’s Transportation and Public Works department as storage.

What is the Halifax Port Authority’s land currently being used for?

The Halifax Port Authority is currently infilling part of the Bedford Basin with bedrock, some of which includes pyritic slate removed from construction sites on the peninsula. The infilled area is approved by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The infilled property is not required for marine industrial purposes by the Halifax Port Authority.

 

Does the municipality have concerns regarding the environmental condition of the infill property? Do these concerns limit what the site could be used for?

Any environmental risks that may be identified as part of the lands proposed for exchange will be examined as part of the normal course of due diligence The Halifax Port’s infill property is new land that has been created through infilling existing waterlots. The project has been approved by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Is this related to the Windsor Street Exchange Redevelopment project?

This is a separate project. The projects are tied to each other primarily as a result of their proximity. The Windsor Street Exchange project, along with the Africville Active Transportation (AT) project, are working to improve access to the area for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, which will be considered when evaluating potential future uses of the properties.

Is the proposed land exchange tied to the Africville Active Transportation project?

This is a separate project which aims to improve connections for those walking and cycling between the Africville National Historic Site and the rest of the Halifax peninsula. Learn more about the Africville AT project on the project page.

What would the municipality use the infill land for?

It is too soon to speak to potential future uses of the area as further planning and research must be completed. Information will be shared, as it becomes available, via Halifax.ca.

When could the municipality take possession of the infill land, if the proposed land exchange proceeds?

The infill of the Bedford Basin will continue until, either, the current infill permit expires in 2024 or until the Halifax Port Authority ceases infilling. Until then, the Halifax Port Authority and the Halifax Regional Municipality will not be in a position to close on any proposed land transactions. Information will be shared, as it becomes available, via Halifax.ca.

Will there be public consultation done on future uses of this land?

Should the proposed land exchanges proceed – involving the Africville Heritage Trust, the Halifax Port Authority and the Halifax Regional Municipality – the municipality will first engage in stakeholder and community consultation to inform any decisions regarding potential future uses of these lands. The lands being discussed include the Halifax Port Authority’s new landmass (which includes existing and future infill lands), the expanded Africville Heritage Trust lands and the municipal land intended to be transferred to the Halifax Port Authority.

Will money be exchanged as part of this agreement?

It is too soon to say as the land exchange proposal review is ongoing.