Do water space rights exist?

By Jackie DavisJackie Davis


Photo by Richard

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The Question

Recently my cottage neighbour complained that my dock is in his water space and that he would appreciate it if I moved it. Is there such a thing as water space rights?
—Harold Dinesen, Catchacoma Lake, Ont.

The Answer

Well, according to Transport Canada, before anyone builds a dock (or a boathouse), they’re supposed to make sure the project meets certain criteria under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, set out to prevent these structures from interfering with any navigable waterways. (If a dock didn’t meet the criteria, it would require review and approval first.)

One condition says that the dock should be no closer than five metres to any “adjacent property boundaries and property line extensions.” So, depending on where your dock is located—or what sort of approval you received for it—it is possible that your dock is encroaching on your neighbour’s turf..er, water.

For more info—and to find out if you may need to move your dock—contact your regional Navigable Waters Protection Program office.

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Jackie Davis