Are you a resident of a private road who would like to make improvements or carry out maintenance, but want to equally share the cost with your neighbours? Would you like to avoid disputes and work together to make your road safer? Did you know that the Planning & Development Services department can help you achieve your goals?

The first step is to form an association under the Nova Scotia Societies Act with interested residents along your private road. Our Recreation department can assist you in forming an Association.

Second, submit a petition with signatures from 66.66% of the residents on your road. The number of property owners who sign should also represent 66.66% of the road itself.

Third, approve a yearly maintenance budget with your association. This could include items such as snow removal, sanding, gravel, or bush cutting. Council will then approve an annual charge for each resident to equally distribute the cost of private road maintenance. You can decide to have it distributed based on the frontage, assessment acreage, a uniform amount for each lot, or a combination of the above.

Finally, include a map of the charge area with your application.

It is important to note that your road association will be responsible to contract out any maintenance or improvement work. The Municipality's role, through the private road maintenance by-law, is to assist private road residents to achieve an understanding an equal sharing of the costs.

For more information, please contact the Planning & Development Services department at 541-1325 or visit in person at 210 Aberdeen Road, Bridgewater.

Click here for The Private Road Maintenance and Improvement By-law

What you need to know about the New Private Roads By-Law (2020)

A new By-Law is proposed to replace the existing By-Law, last revised in 2009.

  • Private roads are maintained by landowners. The landowners may incorporate a non-profit society to decide on the level of road maintenance/improvement and to collect fees.
  • The Municipality can assist in collection of the fees by putting them in on tax bills, ensuring steady cash flow for associations to maintain their roads.
  • For the Municipality to administer fee collection, there are number of requirements.
  • Municipal staff heard from residents over years that those requirements may be too restrictive. About 120 residents came to our engagement sessions last September to share their thoughts. This feedback was important in developing the draft By-Law.

The new By-Law will make things easier, by allowing

  • Lower threshold (66.7% à 50.1%) required for a petition process
  • Lower threshold (75.1% à 50.1%) required for annual budget approval process
  • Alternative process to enter into agreement with the Municipality, if the petition process cannot be followed due to
    • Not enough landowners to serve as directors of private road associations,
    • Being unable to reach out to enough number of landowners for petition process
  • Alternative process can also be considered by Council if
    • The minority of landowners are bearing the maintenance cost for the majority of roads
    • There is a public safety issue if fees are not collected to maintain the roads

Along with the new By-Law, the Municipality would like to provide information materials for private road maintenance, including:

  • A model society By-Law, required by the Province
  • A Frequently Asked Question sheet
  • A directory, listing local contractors that provide maintenance services

Outdated rules are also being cleaned up to keep the By-Law up-to-date.

The intention of the new By-Law is to reduce “red tape”, so property owners can enjoy high quality of life in rural areas, and maintain access to services and amenities, such as fire protection.


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