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Halifax renews push for development tool to address ‘historic wrongs’ in Black communities

Community benefit agreements already used in Vancouver, Toronto

Halifax’s North End has changed dramatically in the past decade, and Treno Morton can’t help but wonder what it would look like if its established Black residents had a real say in how it grew.

New apartments and condos have brought in more residents and businesses, but bump up against public housing and buildings that were once affordable.

“Once it’s all said and done and the development’s finished, you don’t see anyone of African Nova Scotian descent living in these buildings,” Morton said.

Morton, of the North End Halifax New Roots Community Land Trust, is among multiple residents — and the municipality itself — calling for the province to change legislation that would allow Halifax to create community benefit agreements.

These agreements would grant communities legal standing in new projects, so residents could require affordable housing, green space, or jobs as part of a development.

In November 2022, Halifax officially asked the province to change the city charter to allow for these agreements, and Mayor Mike Savage wrote a letter urging the move in 2023. …[Continue Reading]