Can a private right-of-way be used to access to a beach by vehicle?

Nova Scotia, Canada

The following excerpt is from Bishop v. Purdy, 2015 NSSC 364 (CanLII):

The applicants also refer to Viehbeck v. Pook, 2012 NSSC 48, where the method of use of a granted right-of-way for beach access was in dispute; the respondents objected to the use of vehicles by the applicants. The grant was for recreational use of the beach, without specifying whether access could be by vehicle. Wood J. considered the surrounding circumstances and held that the parties to the deed intended to permit access to the beach by motor vehicle over the right-of-way (para. 95). The applicants submit that similar reasoning should apply in this case, where there is no express grant describing the scope of the asserted easement. They say the historic use includes, among other things, passing over the portion of the lane in front of the respondent’s lot by foot and by motor vehicle, as in Viehbeck.

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