Loyalist Connections Podcast, Season 2 Episode 3: Greenville, NS – Connection to Urban Development
By Loyalist Connections Creative Society
Upper Hammonds Plains is a community with deep historical roots, and like many other communities, it faces many challenges, particularly in land ownership and community planning. However, the journey of Curtis Wiley Jr., a community leader, is more than just a narrative of community preservation; it’s a saga of confronting systemic challenges, advocating for rightful ownership, and envisioning a future where the community’s history and identity are not just remembered but actively integrated into its growth.
In a recent episode of Loyalist Connections Podcast, Curtis shared his profound insights and experiences growing up in and around the Community of Upper Hammonds Plains. He highlighted complex zoning laws and land titles, which historically act as barriers to sustainable development within African Nova Scotian Communities. The fight for access to clean water, a fundamental human right, was a significant battle in Upper Hammonds Plains, involving lengthy legal disputes and highlighting the systemic neglect and environmental racism that persist.
One of the most pressing issues in Upper Hammonds Plains is the threat of unchecked development, leading to community displacement. Curtis pointed out the rapid and often haphazard development projects by external entities that threaten the community’s cultural fabric and identity. The lack of community consultation in these development projects exacerbates the problem, leaving residents feeling marginalized in decisions that directly impact their lives.
However, Curtis Wiley Jr.’s innovative idea of forming a coalition of land trusts across different communities is a strategic response to these challenges. This approach aims to create a unified front, empowering communities to have a stronger voice in negotiations and decision-making processes, mainly when dealing with governmental organizations or private developers.
A significant part of Curtis’s advocacy is the call for increased representation in fields related to land and property management. The lack of African Nova Scotian professionals in planning, architecture, engineering, and real estate is not just a gap in representation but a missed opportunity for communities to shape their development narratives. Curtis emphasizes the need for community-driven expertise to ensure that development is inclusive and reflective of the community’s heritage and aspirations.
Curtis Wiley Jr.’s dedication to the Upper Hammonds Plains Community Land Trust is a beacon of hope and a testament to the resilience of communities facing similar challenges. His journey is a reminder of the power of unity, knowledge, and leadership in driving sustainable and respectful community development. Curtis’s insights offer invaluable lessons and a path forward for those passionate about community empowerment, land rights, and preserving historical communities.
The story of Upper Hammonds Plains, as shared by Curtis Wiley Jr., is a powerful call to action for communities everywhere. It underscores the importance of proactive engagement in planning and legal frameworks, such as understanding zoning laws and securing land titles. Curtis’s work is a prime example of how communities can and should take the lead in safeguarding their interests and futures.
We invite you to listen to the full episode to dive deeper into this compelling narrative and gain a fuller understanding of the challenges, triumphs, and future aspirations of this vibrant community.