Vancouver A tree fort shaped like a ship is making waves, pitting neighbours against each other in an argument about the right to privacy over the rights of play pirates. The large-scale pirate ship, nestled in a cedar tree, has become a favourite spot for the children who live nearby. For the past two years, the tree fort, with its fake wooden cannon, had its sights set directly on the next-door neighbour's living room. Now, the city is firing back. The dispute between the neighbours escalated and has now sailed into the court system. Jayne Seagrave and Andrew Dewberry, the parents who built the tree fort for their two young sons, filed a challenge saying their family's rights had been violated. The city is suing them to try to force the couple to take the fort down. The tree fort was built in the family's home, located in the upper-middle class neighbourhood of Kerrisdale. Since the dispute became public, the area has become a place for gawkers, with people stopping in to catch a glimpse of what is now the city's most infamous tree fort. Mr Dewberry, an architect by training, said he promised his sons a tree fort. He never expected two years later the matter would end up in court. On the day he began construction, Mr Dewberry's next-door neighbour came by and raised concerns about the proximity of the tree house to her property. Specifically, the tree house has a full frontal view of her living room, while it is barely visible from the Dewberry's house. 'The location here is not in keeping with the spirit and intent of any residential neighbourhood,' said Rick Michaels, the city's assistant director of development services, in his testimony in court last week. The couple said they wanted to build the tree fort at the front so other children in the neighbourhood could come by and use it. The 45 sq ft tree house cost Mr Dewberry C$2,000 (HK$15,380) in lumber and other supplies. 'It's been an obscene experience,' said Mr Dewberry about the now two-year legal struggle, described by one observer as a 'tempest in a tree house'. Mr Dewberry's neighbour had concerns about her own family's safety, according to the city's lawyer, Rod Flannigan. Mr Flannigan said the neighbour cited privacy and security issues because the tree house, which can be accessed by anyone trespassing onto the Dewberry's property, looks directly into her living room. When the family started to build the tree house, three city officials came by for an inspection and no one said anything about needing a permit, according to Ms Seagrave. The city now says because of the size of the structure and its location, a development permit was required. That makes it fair game for any homeowner to be forced to spend hundreds of dollars on permits anytime they want to erect a swing set or a pergola, the couple say. If a judge decides next month that the pirate ship must be sunk, Mr Dewberry and Ms Seagrave say they won't fight. But, for now, the flag of surrender remains unfurled.