Massive move a nautical feat

Published online: Sep 21, 2011 News
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After his top-heavy houseboat capsized during a Christmas storm three years ago, Doug McClelland is ready to regain his sea legs - shipping a new $500,000 floating home designed for his old moorage in Coal Harbour marina Monday.

Following the 2008 loss, the 57-year-old endured a time-consuming insurance claim and had to meet with newer, more stringent city regulations - including requirements to install "nautical-themed" features - something that nearly made him jump ship.

The former motorcycle enthusiast said he owed his floating-home neighbours and friends, including an architect and a real estate agent, for staying afloat.

"I called (architect Russell Churnoff) and asked for advice . he said `my passionate hobby is floating homes, let me design your house, I'll just charge basic costs,'" McClelland said. Through the help of his realtor neighbour, he will also be featured on the U.K. TV program Massive Moves.

"They've shot 10 hours of footage. They've been filming aspects, kitchen cabinets being installed, there's been some interesting stuff through interviews."

McClelland, who works in the local wine industry, has been a landlubber since the storm, which quickly reminded him "living on shore was too ordinary."

He had originally moved to Vancouver from Winnipeg in 1987 hoping for a taste of the "West Coast" life.

"After being in a big old house, everything we looked at in the condo market was just boxy. So a friend pointed out an ad for a houseboat and we went down, saw it and immediately wanted to buy it."

McClelland said his new home, strategically designed to prevent a similar listing, includes new earthquake-resistant materials and a fire sprinkler system.

Vancouver's 18 floating homes, split between Granville Island and Coal Harbour, are required to pay property taxes and licensing fees.


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