Descendants of black loyalists in Nova Scotia seeking help to gain land title

HALIFAX -- Residents of a black community in Nova Scotia say they're hoping for progress this week in gaining title to their land, 200 years after their ancestors were handed rocky plots without clear ownership.

See Full Article

The Nova Scotia government provided land to black loyalists in the 1800s, but the Crown didn't provide land titles - though it did for white settlers.

Dwight Adams, a volunteer with a community group in the North Preston area, says that up to one third of residents in the community of about 3,700 people still don't have title to the land.

"We don't want to continue paying taxes and find out down the road we don't even have a property to pass on," he said during an interview.

Journalism students at the Nova Scotia Community College released an online documentary Monday depicting how a government-funded process to gain title in the 1960s lapsed.

It includes interviews with current residents still struggling to gain title.

The students also cited a petition presented to the Crown in 1860 from black settlers saying their inability to confidently build upon or mortgage their lands was creating hardship.

In 1963, former premier Robert Stanfield promised to fix the problem, setting up the Land Titles Clarification Act, which laid out a process allowing the residents to gain title.

However, Adams said many families were unable to make use of the free land surveyors or legal advice, and -- over the course of several governments -- the funding for the program was cut.

Applications for title are currently made to the land services branch of the Department of Natural Resources, with individual residents responsible for providing the required documentation.

Angela Simmonds, a Dalhousie law student, completed a study last year that says after some titles were settled in 2009, "it has been increasingly difficult for people in the community to get a response regarding their applications."

North Preston resident Wylie Cain says in the student documentary that he wanted to grant land passed to him by his grandparents to his daughter Elaine Cain, but has found it a struggle to complete the process without a deed.

His daughter, Elaine Cain, said during the documentary she's been attempting to gain title for much of her adult life.

"I've been working to get this land title since I was 29 years old, paying taxes, putting in applications ... and no response," she said.

Darrel Pink, executive director of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, says his group has been working with Adams and other volunteers for over a year on a pilot project to finish the process of helping residents of the community.

The society has been recruiting volunteer lawyers to help with the project.

"One of the things that we are advocating is that government can use its authority to be a little more flexible on what standards need to be applied in order for people to be able to get title for land they've occupied for a number of years," he said.

Lloyd Hines, the minister of Natural Resources, declined an interview but provided an emailed statement.

"We understand some members of the community are concerned and we are working with anyone who wants more information," he wrote.

Pink said efforts are also underway to set up a method to resolve disputes in cases where various members of the community battle over properties and boundary lines.

"I hope we can approach it in ways that can resolve conflict with the minimal amount of strife," he said. "These title problems have caused problems in the community."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'Absolutely nuts': Man says driver came at him with baton in road rage attack

    Canada News CTV News
    An Edmonton man says he was beaten with a baton and struck by a car in an alleged road rage incident on the side of a busy highway over the weekend. Brad Cummins said the encounter unfolded on Edmonton’s Anthony Henday Drive, after he apparently angered another driver by passing him. Source
  • Man in wheelchair allegedly assaulted while walking dog in Saskatoon

    Canada News CTV News
    SASKATOON -- A charge of attempted murder has been laid after a man in Saskatoon was allegedly assaulted while riding his motorized wheelchair. Police say the 57-year-old man was exercising his dog early Sunday morning when he was pulled from his chair and attacked. Source
  • Wildfire conditions remain stable in B.C., although several new blazes sparked

    Canada News CTV News
    KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Wildfire crews in British Columbia continue to keep a close eye on the weather but despite predictions of strong winds and lightning, conditions remained relatively stable over the weekend. The B.C. Source
  • Parents withdraw legal action over their sick baby

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard dropped their legal bid Monday to send him to the United States for an experimental treatment after new medical tests showed that the window of opportunity to help him had closed. Source
  • Fellony the felon hit with new felony charges

    World News Toronto Sun
    Fellony the serial felon has been hit with new felony charges, according to reports. Fellony Hudson, 22, of Salem, Ore., has been charged with felony kidnapping, felony eluding, felony possession of a stolen vehicle and various other misdemeanors after cops chased the ironically-named man across state lines last week. Source
  • Russia deploys military police at 'safe zone' in Syria

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW - Russia's General Staff says it has deployed military police to monitor the cease-fire in a safe zone in the eastern suburbs of Syria's Damascus. The zone is one of four proposed in a plan approved in May by Russia, Iran, which supports Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Turkey, which backs rebels fighting his forces. Source
  • Trump lashes out at fellow Republicans in Twitter tirade

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expressing his frustration with fellow Republicans, saying they “do very little to protect their President.” In one of several tweets issued Sunday afternoon and evening, Trump said the lack of support happens even with “some that were carried over the line on my back. Source
  • Chainsaw-wielding man wounds five in Switzerland

    World News Toronto Sun
    BERLIN — An unkempt man armed with a chainsaw wounded five people Monday at an office building in the northern Swiss city of Schaffhausen and then fled, police said. A manhunt was on for him. Police were alerted to the attack at 10:39 a.m. Source
  • Pregnant woman stabbed multiple times at her Montreal home

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - Police say a 33-year-old pregnant woman was stabbed several times early Monday morning in her home in the city's north end. Authorities say the victim was attacked by her partner, who fled the scene when police arrived. Source
  • Newborn in critical condition after pregnant woman stabbed in Montreal

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- A newborn was listed in critical condition Monday after being delivered by emergency C-section shortly after its mother was stabbed multiple times in Montreal. The 33-year-old mother is expected to survive, despite being found in her apartment with stab wounds to her upper and lower body, police spokesman Jean-Pierre Brabant said. Source