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Chip Wilson's dock plans and 7 other notorious neighbour disputes

01/25/2015 05:00 EST | Updated 03/26/2015 05:59 EDT
Neighbourly disputes are not uncommon, but sometimes they border on the absurd.

The billionaire founder of Canadian fitness apparel company Lululemon made headlines this week after neighbours on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast revealed his plans for a waterfront upgrade.

Chip Wilson plans to build a 2,500-square-foot dock on his waterfront property north of Sechelt, B.C.

Bigger than most homes, the proposed dock has drawn the ire of at least 10 neighbours, who say it will endanger local wildlife as well as their own safety. The matter has been referred to the B.C. government, who will make the final decision on Wilson's plan.

This is only the latest high-profile dispute between neighbours in Canada, a list that includes arguments over everything from large, unsightly homes to backyard hockey rinks to dog poop.

Here's a look at some of the most notorious kerfuffles.

Eyesores

Some homeowners have their hands full with new neighbours who demolish an existing home in order to build an oversized new one in its place.

In 2013, residents in a modest Brampton, Ont. community complained when a neighbour received a town permit to build a 6,600-square-foot home in their midst. Neighbours complained that the structure had become a "drive-by tourist attraction." The town had admitted it was a mistake and has since ordered the homeowner to demolish it.

While airing out your laundry can be an environmentally friendly choice, some homeowners object to seeing their neighbour’s frilly things flapping in the breeze.

Last year, a colourful array of underwear and socks that towered several feet above the top of a fence forced city council in Mississauga, Ont. to pass one of Canada`s strictest by-laws on the use of clotheslines.

Adjacent homeowners complained they could not entertain guests in their backyard without the distraction of their neighbours’ undergarments.

Backyard hockey rinks

Late last year, a man from the eastern townships of Sherbrooke, Que., was ordered by the city to take down the backyard hockey rink he puts up each winter. The city said the 12-by-18-metre rink contravened zoning by-laws.

This all started after his neighbour made a complaint to the city saying the rink caused him "visual harm."

It appears actual NHL players are no exception to backyard scrutiny.

Former Edmonton Oilers forward Fernando Pisani caused a firestorm around his home near St. Albert, Alta., in 2012 over the construction of a large rink on his property.

His neighbours complained that the rink would be too big, too noisy and that its lights would be too distracting, and insisted that a permit should have been issued beforehand.

The town's local development appeal board was supposed to review these concerns, but had previously said permits were not required for backyard rinks.

Odd disputes

It's not clear how the dispute began, but last year, neighbours living in a Stoney Creek, Ont., apartment complex decided to try and settle their differences with a rubber mallet and an ensuing wrestling match.

Police charged one person with assault with a weapon. He was later released on a promise to appear in court.

Meanwhile, a fight over tree-cutting in a North Vancouver neighbourhood played out over several years and took a number of strange twists.

After moving into the area in 2005, a couple was approached by a neighbour about trimming some trees on their property in order to improve his ocean view. The couple agreed. But when he trimmed more than they had expected, the couple retaliated in a number of ways, including putting up banners to block his view. (One of them read, "You damaged my trees.")

After a year of back-and-forth antics, the two neighbours ended up in court. The case was settled in 2009, with the couple agreeing to pay their neighbour $30,000 for the damage their acts of retaliation caused him.

Not only that, but by the end of the years-long dispute, the couple had rung up legal fees of $169,000.

In 2014, a Fort McMurray, Alta., couple lodged a series of complaints against their neighbours — saying, among other things, that they purposely aimed sprinklers at their lawn, that they parked too close to the driveway, that their children were too noisy and that they tossed dog poop into a portion of their shared backyard.

For all this, the RCMP laid a charge against the complainants for “interfering with the lawful use and enjoyment of property” — in other words, for protesting too much.

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