Locals face legal costs after losing land dispute to McCain heiress

HALIFAX — A dispute over access to a strip of Nova Scotia sand has concluded in favour of an heiress to the McCain business dynasty, with local residents facing payment of her legal costs.

A group of residents of Hackett's Cove, southwest of Halifax, went public in 2015 with their complaint that Eleanor McCain had asked them to stop using a wooded pathway on land she owned.

The residents stopped using the path, making it more difficult for them to reach Barney's Beach, but in December 2018 they served legal notice to McCain that a historic right-of-way had existed since 1867.

However, the 14 people recently dropped their civil action, and Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Anne Smith signed a permanent injunction today where the residents agree not to enter "any part" of McCain's land.

During court proceedings, McCain's lawyer Nancy Rubin said her client is seeking legal costs, saying it's customary for the party that has dropped its action to pay those costs.

She is expected back in court on Jan. 24 with the amount McCain will seek from the local residents.

In a written statement, McCain said the applicants brought forward a case based on "incorrect information."

She said their argument that an 1867 deed that gave historic rights to Barney's Beach in fact was referring to a different place called Wreck Cove.

In court documents, the daughter of the late frozen food magnate Wallace McCain has said her family wanted to enjoy its privacy and there had been occasions when there was garbage left behind and there were ongoing concerns about fires.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2019.

The Canadian Press