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Saint John-area couple fights to build waterfront dream home

Click to play video 'Couple trying to build dream home along St. John River hit with red tape' Couple trying to build dream home along St. John River hit with red tape
WATCH: A couple from the Saint John area that's trying to build their dream home says the municipality isn't allowing them to. Todd Veinotte has more – Jul 11, 2018

A Grand Bay-Westfield, N.B., couple is determined to build their dream home in a picturesque location, but the municipality says it’s too close to the Saint John River.

Stella Taillefer and her husband purchased the property in 2007, with plans to eventually build a 1,300-square-foot home. But after nine years of site preparation, they received a letter from the town stating they were in violation of a bylaw.

Undeterred, they hired engineers and a surveyor who told them the house was not at risk of flooding, based on work done to the property.

“We have been diligent in obtaining the proper permits, adhering to the conditions of all the department of environment rules and regulations,” Taillefer says.

READ MORE: N.B. on flood watch as areas along St. John River expected to reach flood stage

Legal wrangling ensued, and recently the province ruled the property is fit for development. Grand Bay-Westfield appealed the ruling, and a hearing is scheduled for August.

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Taillefer believes they’ve presented a solid case.

“The province is saying yes, we have two engineering companies saying yes, that we are safe at the levels we have determined. Even in the flood in may our house would not have flooded at the levels it’s going to be built at,” Taillefer says.

Veteran realtor Hodges Hamm studied the case and spoke at the provincial hearing.

“They’ve done everything in their power to make sure it conforms to the wishes of the environment and also to be compliant to the bylaws of Grand Bay,” Hamm states.

In a brief phone conversation, Mayor Grace Losier declined to comment because the case is before the court.

Taillefer says the hope is that if all goes well, construction on the house will begin later this summer.