At home on the New Westminster waterfront

Published online: Oct 12, 2010 News Mary Frances Hill - The Sun
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When Jim Dorval told friends he was building a float home that would sit on the Fraser River, they were surprised and assumed the retired electrician would settle into a quirky little boathouse.

"When you say 'float home', you can see it in their eyes -- they have this vision of a rusty old steel barge with a one-storey crooked shack on it and a stovepipe sticking out one window," Dorval said in an interview from his current home in Prince George.

"Most people think you have rocks in your head. And it takes a lot to turn that [stereotype] around."

In fact, the home that Jim and his wife Kathy Dorval will move into next spring marks the fulfilment of a dream.

This month the Dorvals will see their new three-bedroom, 1,750-square foot home placed on a water lot in Queensgate Marina. Once it's connected to the sewer, electrical and gas systems, the couple will be able to park their car in a private lot and move into a residence with a permanent view of Delta's Annacis Island parkland.

Their back door will open up to a view of a small foreshore and stone walkway separating residences from additional water where ducks gather. A covered ramp connects the walkway to the residential parking lot.

This new section of New Westminster's Queensborough neighbourhood is the brainchild of John deWaal, the developer of Queensgate Marina and a self-proclaimed hippie. He's selling five water lots that include boat slips, a shared ownership of the foreshore and a 40-year water lease with Ports Canada.

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