A motion to register a home that once belonged to Halifax’s first Black doctor as a heritage property has passed unanimously by regional council.
Dr. Clement Ligoure was the editor of Nova Scotia’s first Black newspaper, the Atlantic Advocate, treated survivors of the Halifax Explosion in 1917 and was the co-founder of the No.2 Construction Battalion — Canada’s only all-Black unit to serve during the First World War.
The proposal to protect Ligoure’s former home and clinic on North Street with heritage status was filed last year and was debated by regional council Tuesday afternoon.
Peggy Cameron applied for the house’s protection and said it remained at risk of demolition because the city is planning to widen nearby Robie Street.
Members of the public were not allowed to speak to council because the application did not come from the current homeowner, who happens to be a developer.
The developer did not attend Tuesday afternoon’s heritage hearing.
However, Coun. Lindell Smith said he did speak with the developer who said there was no intention to demolish the home. Smith added that it is outside the Halifax transportation reserve, so the city wouldn’t demolish it either.
The motion to register the property was passed with 16 votes yes, and zero votes no.
About a dozen people gathered outside Halifax City Hall Tuesday morning ahead of the decision, including Sharon Brown Ross, a member of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
“It’s important to have recognition and visibility of our history, heritage and contributions to Halifax and Nova Scotia in general,” said Brown Ross.
In a letter of support to Cameron, Brown Ross said Ligoure was denied hospital privileges when he arrived in Halifax, which is why he established a private clinic in his home.
George Elliott Clarke, a former parliamentary poet laureate, also wrote a letter of support for Cameron, saying a heritage designation would help preserve a little-known but important part of Halifax’s history.
With files from The Canadian Press