10/06/2014 01:54 EDT | Updated 12/06/2014 05:59 EST

Nova Scotia signs agreement to preserve public access to Shubenacadie Canal

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government has signed a land agreement that it says will preserves public access to a portage route regularly used by paddlers who canoe on the Shubenacadie Canal.

Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill says the agreement allows the province to take ownership of enough land so that people will still be able to use the portage route in the Halifax community of Fall River.

Churchill says the Shubenacadie Canal Commission will also receive $35,000 to help manage and maintain the Shubenacadie waterway, which is home to a historical lock used in the original Shubenacadie Canal system in the mid-1800s.

The government says the landowner of a neighbouring property was trying to claim at least a portion of that land under the Limitations of Actions Act, where land can be claimed if the owner can prove they have occupied it in a way that clearly shows ownership.

The commission raised alarm bells earlier this year that public access to the waterway could be lost if the claim was approved.

The government says the landowner eventually agreed to alter her land claim to allow for public access to the route between Lake Thomas and Fletchers Lake.

The area off Fletchers Lake is protected under the province's Special Places Protection Act, which protects historical sites.