Vanessa Valentine lost her houseboat last January after heavy snowfall. (Kristina Gervais/Special to Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: “The boat has gone to boat heaven”

Langley women who lost her houseboat is working to move forward with help from GoFundMe campaign

Vanessa Valentine had lived in her houseboat on Grants Landing, a North Langley marina situated along the Fraser River and Derby Reach, for just shy of four years.

It was a way for her to live small and inside a caring, quiet community.

On Jan. 13, the pipes began to freeze, snow began to melt into pooling water, and the houseboat starting listing to one side.

The weight and sudden weather changes of it all caused the boat to submerge into the Fraser several days, eventually leaning it against the dock.

Efforts to salvage the houseboat and Valentine’s belongings proved to be largely unsuccessful, with only some articles of clothing and a few personal items pulled out before it sank.

“The boat has gone to boat heaven,” Valentine laughed, relying on humour to keep her spirits up.

She said it was quite the chore to finally get the houseboat onto land, utilizing a tow-truck and chains that tugged it inch-by-inch to the parking lot.

After a troublesome journey trying to find a place that would take it, Valentine found Captain Crunch Recycling in Abbotsford where she looked on as it got squashed into a cube of junk.

“It was tough to watch,” she admitted.

READ MORE: Langley woman without a home after houseboat sinks during snowy weather

A GoFundMe account had been set up by Valentine’s family to help her replace some of the possessions she lost; it still remains active.

$7,595 was raised, given by 97 donors, some Valentine did not even personally know.

Valentine said the bulk of donations came from her son’s workplace that pushed for fundraising efforts, fittingly around Valentine’s Day.

Without a home of her own, she is staying with her brother in Maple Ridge; he had an extra room and was heading out on a lengthy vacation at the time of the sinking.

Valentine said she is making due, bu she is keeping busy by taking stock of the items she needs to replace.

“It’s the little things like replacing my hair dryer,” Valentine said. “Every day, I think of something like certain utensils I used to have that I don’t anymore – I’ll be cooking at my brother’s and it’s all different.”

On top of the replacements, the cost of hauling the boat out of the marina was around $5,000; while a few other expenses are still currently outstanding.

“I haven’t had a chance to go back, but it’s weird going there and my boat not being parked there,” Valentine said. “I’d have to win the lottery to move back there. It’s all up in the air for right now.”

With these unexpected bills eating up her savings and no insurance to help cover the tab, Valentine said hopes to raise more funds to help pay her outstanding marina clean-up costs.

“I’m grateful to everyone who has reached out and helped. When I think of the circumstances, I have a place to stay, which is amazing,” she explained. “I’ve come to grips with it. I put up the fridge magnets that I was able to save, so in a way, I am making my brother’s house my own.”

People can visit if they wish to donate.


Is there more to this story?


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: How a Langley small business owner ended up working six months for free

Take a close look and get references before you sign a contract, she advises other business owners

A new approach needed to get Canadians home from India, MPs say

Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen and Abbotsford MP Ed Fast issue joint call

UPDATE: Langley community gardens remain closed

‘Confusion’ over status after province declares them an essential service

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Insurance shock for Langley condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read