It’s a struggle already 200 years in the making, but with each passing day, it’s becoming less likely that many African Nova Scotian families will finally be able to legally own their land.
Dwight Adams is a member of the North Preston Land Recovery initiative and says he’s worried the Nova Scotia government isn’t moving quickly enough to help families get clear title to land they’ve lived on for decades.
“The senior population is huge in North Preston. Once these individuals pass on, if they don’t have any of these processes in place, the family members that are entitled to the land don’t have any right,” said Adams.
“If someone wants to pass it on to their children, but they pass away before that happens, those children don’t have a leg to stand on because the process is taking too long.”
Last month, the Nova Scotia government announced a new $2.7-million initiative to help residents living in North Preston, East Preston and Cherry Brook, along with Lincolnville and Sunnyville in Guysborough County.
The funding will be used to assist with legal fees and other costs associated with clarifying ownership of land. It will also be used to hire a surveyor and two survey technicians, along with two community liaison officers.
On Tuesday, African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince said that the vetting process to hire the two community liaison officers is underway, but was unable to provide any other timelines.
“By the end of November, we expect to have the two employees hired,” said Ince.
“There are individuals in the community who have some concerns and we are aware of the time sensitivity. We still have some processes we need to work out though. ”
Ince said the next step is to plan a community meeting with the five communities involved.
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Adams estimates one-third of the families in the Preston area are dealing with land title issues. He says he’s still waiting for the government to step up and do the right thing so that seniors in the community don’t have to worry about the financial burdens associated with trying to pass on their land.
“We see these things in church meetings and community meetings and we know their concern,” said Adams.
“There’s even embarrassment, to a degree, where they don’t even want to come forward but we know their cases because they know their family.”
Last month’s announcement came just days after a United Nations working group said that both the provincial and federal governments need to do more to help African Nova Scotians obtain legal title. However, the province insists the timing was a coincidence.
“The announcement on behalf of the government responding to the UN’s resolutions absolutely is a band-aid to us,” said Adams, adding the complexity in many of these cases will likely take upwards of three years to sort out.
“$2.7 million is a far cry from what’s actually needed. Timing is the most important thing”
The North Preston Land Recovery Initiative is planning a community meeting within the next two weeks. They hope to gather feedback from attendees before moving forward.
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Originally posted 2017-10-24 22:21:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter