Historic black community of Lucasville may finally settle boundary dispute

Halifax regional council will vote Tuesday on a city staff recommendation to change the borders of Lucasville to its historical boundaries.

'It means we're on the map … it means finally we're going to be recognized,' says resident

Iris Drummond chairs the Lucasville Community Association. (Contributed by Iris Drummond)

The people of Lucasville, N.S., have been fighting for years to have their community's historical boundaries recognized.

On Tuesday, they may finally get their wish, as Halifax regional council votes on a staff recommendation to change the area's official boundaries.

When the Halifax region amalgamated in 1996, the boundaries drawn around Lucasville were created without consultation with the historic African-Nova Scotian community. 

Some in the community argued the 1996 map did not go far enough up Lucasville Road and misrepresented parts of Lucasville as belonging to Hammonds Plains. 

A city staff proposal would fix the mistake, recognizing historical records and maps dating back to the early 1800s, when Black Refugees from the United States first settled the area after the War of 1812.

"They took this rocky, swampy piece of land — is all they gave you back then — and they worked it and made it into the beautiful community that it is today," said Iris Drummond, president of the Lucasville Community Association. 

The proposed new boundary of Lucasville (red and blue) would nearly double the amount of land in the current boundary (in blue). (Halifax Regional Council)

Drummond has lived in the community for 40 years.

"If council agrees to the staff report and its recommendations, I find it very positive. It will go a long way in showing that the city takes us seriously, the history and culture of our community," said Drummond. 

Debra Lucas's great-great-great grandfather was James Lucas, one of the original settlers of Lucasville. 

"It means we're on the map," said Lucas, the secretary of the Lucasville Community Association. "It means finally we're going to be recognized. Our community is going to be recognized.

"One can hope that it's going to happen, that we can get our boundaries and our signage up in the community so people that drive through will know it's an African heritage descent community."

'Long overdue'

Coun. Lisa Blackburn represents the district of Middle/Upper Sackville-Beaver Bank-Lucasville. 

"Long overdue. Glad to see this finally coming to the table, even gladder to see that staff is recommending the traditional historical boundaries of Lucasville," she said.

According to the report, the proposed boundary would mean about 500 homes would need to change their address from the community of Hammonds Plains to Lucasville. Those affected will receive a letter informing them of the change. 

"I completely understand if they're feeling inconvenienced and feeling put out by this recommendation. But at the same time, I think it's extremely important that we recognize the historical boundaries of this community," said Blackburn. 

The boundary recognition is not the only good news the community of Lucasville got this week. Drummond and Lucas said they've heard a long-awaited road-widening project along Lucasville Road has been approved and that means there will be a bike lane corridor from Hammonds Plains to Middle Sackville. 

Drummond said it's been a long journey — one that couldn't have been completed without the committed members of the association and the people of the community who have worked in spite of the "injustice that's been here for years."

About the Author

Cassie Williams

Reporter/Editor

Seasick marine biologist, turned journalist. I live in Halifax.