This case was heard in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
Ms. Acheson and Mr. DeWolfe’s property bordered a body of water called the Marshall Flowage. To prevent flooding on their property, they constructed an infill and a rock wall to create a barrier between the water and their land. After the infill and rock wall were constructed, the they submitted an application for watercourse alteration approval to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour ("NSEL"). NSEL did not approve the application, as it found that the infill and rock wall could have adverse effects on the local aquatic environment and ecosystems and were therefore in conflict with Nova Scotia’s Water Act and Environment Act.
When the case came before the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, the appellants argued that Marshall Flowage is not a natural watercourse, and so is not subject to the rules that NSEL relied on when it chose not to approve their application. The Court rejected their argument and held that Marshall Flowage is a watercourse that is protected by the Water Act and Environment Act.