Locals seek injunction after neighbour blocks access to historic Peggys Cove fishing buildings

A grassy mound of dirt is shown at what was once the entrance to Lobster Lane in Peggys Cove, N.S. (Kathleen McKenna/CBC - image credit)
A grassy mound of dirt is shown at what was once the entrance to Lobster Lane in Peggys Cove, N.S. (Kathleen McKenna/CBC - image credit)

A dispute over a private road is boiling up on Lobster Lane in Peggys Cove, N.S., pitting homeowners in the tiny seaside community against each other in court.

The defendants, Paul and Claire Paruch, own the entrance to the lane, which has been used as a road by local families to access historic fishing buildings for nearly 200 years.

After buying the land in 2011, the Paruchs recently built a roadblock of dirt and sod that limits access to the other properties on Lobster Lane — one of a handful of gravel roads off the community's main thoroughfare.

Now three homeowners are seeking a temporary injunction order to remove the blockage.

Wayne and Eliza Manuel, along with Aonghus Garrison, claim "continuous and notorious possession" of the lane, according to court documents obtained by CBC News. The plaintiffs argue they have right to the lane based on their historic usage of the path as well as that of their ancestors.

Neither the Paruchs nor Garrison responded to requests for comment. The Manuels declined to be interviewed. None of the claims has been tested in court.

Kathleen McKenna/CBC
Kathleen McKenna/CBC

Julien Wallot Beale, a resident of nearby Glen Margaret who spent childhood summers with his grandparents in Peggys Cove, said the lane has been used to move fishing gear to the wharves and boathouses since 1825.

Blocking the lane restricts the use of the York Manuel fish shed and store — a pair of wooden buildings perched on bedrock in the middle of Peggys Cove — for the first time in almost two centuries, he said.

The Garrison and Manuel families have held ownership of the fish shed and store throughout their long history.

"The York Manual fish shed is kind of like that iconic fish shed that you see on posters and postcards," said Wallot Beale. "[It's] one of the oldest standing fish sheds in Nova Scotia. It's still in use, it's actively in use. It's not just for show …  it hasn't been used for the first time in close to 200 years. That's shocking."

Kathleen McKenna/CBC
Kathleen McKenna/CBC

The fish shed and store are the oldest unaltered buildings of their type in the province, according to the Canadian Registry of Historic Places.

The court documents say without access to the road, the continuing disrepair of the fish shed and store could lead to the deterioration of the buildings.

The motion for the temporary injunction will be heard in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on June 20.