The beach: Property without bounds

Sep 21, 2017
  • 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
  • Location:
    Room 122, Allard Hall
    1822 East Mall
    Vancouver, BC

A full reading of oceanfront property law leads to the conclusion that a beachfront landowner cannot enforce a right to exclude along the ocean-side boundary of her property. This conclusion has significant implications for public use of the beach because that boundary has until now been portrayed of as a real, if difficult to find, limit on the landward extent of public rights. The public could, so the story went, use only the “wet sand” part of the beach seaward of the line. Areas landward—often called the “dry sand”—were deemed exclusively private. If, as Prof. Josh Eagle argues, the boundary cannot be enforced, the public is entitled to use the entire beach by default. This talk will discuss the unenforceability of the ocean-side boundary and look at another approach to govern the beaches.