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Province cracks down on popular lobster pound near Peggys Cove, by Steve Berry, July 24, 2017

Lack of bathroom, running water means Ryer & Ryer Lobster Ltd. can no longer sell cooked lobster

A popular lobster pound near Peggys Cove will no longer sell cooked lobster because it doesn't have a bathroom or running water for customers.

The province told Ryer & Ryer Lobsters Ltd. — also known as Ryer Lobsters Ltd. Retail — it needs to meet several food safety regulations.

Dean Ryer, the owner, declined an interview with CBC News but said he is working on an assessment to get a final cost on adding a bathroom, a sewage disposal system and an approved hot and cold water supply.

Fans disappointed

About a dozen picnic benches have been put away as the Indian Harbour, N.S., business works to get up to code. Normally tourists would be seated on those benches with bibs on, tucking into some freshly boiled lobster.

Fans say they're disappointed they won't be able to get their lobster fix there this summer. 

"We have friends and family coming in all summer. We were hoping to share this with them," said Justin Martin, who moved to Nova Scotia with his wife Julie a year ago.

The Martins said they've eaten lunch at at Ryer seven times since they moved to Nova Scotia from Ontario.

'Authentic' experience

"I don't know the whole regulation aspect of it, but it's just a real fun experience. The aprons, the plates — it's authentic," said Julie Martin.

The owner said most of Ryer's business is done with the live lobsters it sells to local restaurants, but the company started boiling and serving its own lobster about 11 years ago.

"My guests who stay here are looking for fresh lobster and that's where we always sent people," said Jarmila Hanack, owner of the nearby Clifty Cove Motel.

Donna Maguire, owner of Rogues Studio Gallery, owns a number of rental properties in the area. Maguire said she was "devastated" to hear cooked lobsters are no longer available at Ryer because that's where she sends her guests.

"Now our people have to cook their own and it's difficult. It's quite difficult for them when they're not in their own home and it was so easy just to go up there and pick up the lobster and bring them back," Maguire said.

Maguire said Ryer was a booming spot for tourists. She said she doesn't understand why it must now meet restaurant standards.

"All they do is cook them. They're not serving them like a restaurant. They give them a cooked lobster that's boiled in water and they pass them on a paper plate with plastic utensils. What's wrong with that?" she said.

As for her guests, Maguire said she will now have to buy lobster pots for each of her properties.

Routine inspection

A public health officer with Nova Scotia Environment became aware of the food service being provided at Ryer during a routine inspection, the province said in an email.

The officer found the business did not have the necessary permits to operate a restaurant selling cooked lobster.

The province said it is now working with the owner to bring the facility up to code.