Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: Roland Lapierre

Roland Lapierre's boat at anchor in the Gorge waterway, Victoria, BC...
Roland Lapierre's original floating shelter...
Today's image dates back to 2006. At that time a local homeless man, Roland Lapierre, came up with an innovative solution to his housing situation. He built himself a houseboat using a combination of purchased plumbing supplies, donated supplies and stuff he was able to scrounge.

His design was simple. Using lengths of plastic plumbing lashed together, Lapierre built a simple catamaran. The 'accommodations portion' of the boat was a re-purposed trampoline and frame with a donated tent on it. Long oars allowed him to move the boat around. What was impressive was that the design was totally Lapierre's, based on conversations he had with local boat owners.

He anchored it off Vic West in the waterway known as the Gorge. Unfortunately he was eventually evicted by the city of Victoria after complaints from local homeowners. The second unfortunate effect of his waterfront residency is that he opened the floodgates to a whole slew of decrepit boats that followed his example and anchored off the same shoreline. These boats are still here in Victoria to this day although steps are underway to remove them.

What become of Roland? His story had a happy ending... He had a family back east that had lost track of him. When his story and photos appeared across Canada, they recognized him and re-connected with him. He eventually moved back east to be with them.

Details of Roland Lapierre's homemade catamaran
A contraption of plumbing and trampoline parts...

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