No-parking signs installed on either side of Carter's Beach Road have been removed after it was discovered they were the wrong ones.
The signs were supposed to prohibit large vehicles, such as RVs and buses, but regular no-parking signs were used instead.
Glen Strang, area manager for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR), said signs were first put up after the district traffic supervisor found access was limited for emergency vehicles. Strang said the signs have since been taken down.
The beach is a popular spot for visitors and locals but parking has been a long-standing issue due to the small size of the lot. High traffic levels in the summer have led visitors to park along the side of the road.
But Gary Williams, a resident of Carter's Beach Road for 40 years, doesn't have a problem with parking. In fact, he allows people to park on his own property, and has met visitors from across Nova Scotia, the U.S., Norway and Australia. When the no-parking signs went up, he worried they would "drive the tourists away."
Williams says the visitors help everybody out, including local stores, adding there is still enough room to allow vehicles to park on one side only.
Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality Christopher Clarke confirmed that the correct signs were not installed and would be taken down.
He was made aware of the situation after people called out of concern or because they had received parking tickets.
Clarke said four tickets were issued by the RCMP but those individuals would not be required to pay them.
"The whole thing was a misunderstanding," he said.
Clarke told LighthouseNOW that after speaking with the deputy minister for TIR, it was discovered that there are no regulations allowing for signs to limit parking for buses or RVs.
Toby Koffman, communications advisor for TIR, said provincial government employees in the area brought the situation to the attention of the department which is in the process of determining whether limiting parking for larger vehicles is possible.
Clarke said he's heard many examples of visitors being respectful when parking at Carter's Beach, although he did acknowledge that on one occasion more than 140 cars were parked during a long weekend.
Clarke said the region has been working with Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) and the Department of Natural Resources to find ways to improve access to Carter's Beach, with a possible meeting set in August.
The parks and protected areas division of NSE has worked to designate Carter's Beach, along with Spectacle and Jackies Islands, as a nature reserve.
Doing so would prohibit motor vehicles on the beach and recreation would be limited to passive activities such as bird watching or walking in order to preserve the natural environment. Development and resource extraction would also be prohibited.
The nature reserve boundary is also up for debate, but efforts have been made between the community and provincial government to craft a shared-management approach that would balance both environmental preservation with tourism.