Residents concerned after landowner builds large seawall at popular South Shore beach

Waves splash up against the bottom of a seawall recently built at Little Crescent Beach on Nova Scotia's South Shore. (Peter Barrs - image credit)
Waves splash up against the bottom of a seawall recently built at Little Crescent Beach on Nova Scotia's South Shore. (Peter Barrs - image credit)

Landowners in Lunenburg County are raising concerns about a seawall built along the shoreline of Little Crescent Beach near West Dublin, N.S.

The small beach is popular among locals. It sits at the end of Crescent Beach, a long stretch where people have been able to pull their vehicles up and enjoy their day next to the ocean for decades.

But some of the landscape has changed.

"It seems there has been some reconstruction of the natural habitat with the removal of grasslands and trees," said Lucy Hendrixson, who grew up in the area.

"There has been a big outcry on how this is being done. Why are there no protections in place?"

The 130-metre wall was built by Hossein Mousavi, a Halifax developer, who owns property by the beach.

He plans to build three cottages for his family to use.

Peter Barrs
Peter Barrs

He said a large sand hill and some mature trees and grasses were removed to make room for the wall, but the sand will be reused to "sculpt, replant and otherwise restore the site to a natural form."

But landowners are also questioning whether the private wall was built on public land.

Mousavi said that's not the case. In Nova Scotia, beaches are public lands up to the high-water mark.

He said the property came with two old protective stone seawalls that had been damaged by years of storms.

A licensed surveyor proposed placing the new seawall on top of the existing ones at the high-water mark, he said.

Mousavi, who owns construction company, Cresco, said he was given permission from the province to do the work, with some restrictions.

Peter Barrs
Peter Barrs

Dozens of trucks were carrying loads of fill into the area Friday morning. Hendrixson said there is a salt water tidal wetland behind the seawall.

"These are really ecologically sensitive environments that one would hope, as Nova Scotians, there would be protections in place," said Hendrixson.

In 2019, the province passed the Coastal Protection Act, but the regulations are not complete and it's not yet in effect.

The province gave Mousavi driveway and septic approval, which is what he needed to get a building permit from the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg.

But the mayor of the municipality said the Coastal Protection Act needs to be enforced now so controversies like this don't come up.

Provincial staff investigating

Mayor Carolyn Bolivar-Getson said the municipality has prepared a letter to send to the province and she is also recommending to council that the municipality hastens "the shoreline protection piece."

"There needs to be coastal setbacks for development now and we can't wait another year."

A spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables said on Friday the rock wall was to be built on private land.

Erin Lynch said staff are looking to determine whether there's any encroachment and whether any further action would be needed. She said it would take some time.

Members of the community will be holding an information meeting on Saturday afternoon at the fire hall in Petite Rivière.

"There have been some negative conversations online, which is very unfortunate because there is no room for that whatsoever," said Hendrixson.

"The meeting is to bring everyone together so we can discuss change and bring forward the Coastal Protection Act."

Mousavi has declined the invitation to attend, saying he's not comfortable, in part due to the online comments.

"We are like many other people and fell in love with this special beach and this beautiful area more than 20 years ago," he said.