One of Langley’s most intriguing characters, Gerald Tapp, has been in the news in recent days.
He and some other family members own the former B.C. ferry, the Queen of Sidney, which has been berthed in the Fraser River in Mission for the past 10 years.
Tapp has been fighting the Township of Langley for years in a wide variety of legal cases, some of which relate to similar issues as have popped up in Mission.
There, the owners of the ferry and five other boats have been accused of not berthing them properly, and raising fears that they may slip their moorings and head down the river, causing some serious damage to bridges, other infrastructure and other watercraft.
Tapp comes from another era.
He is a collector — he doesn’t like to throw things out.
There used to be a lot of people like him in these parts, because it was easy to accumulate things on relatively low-priced rural properties and neighbours were more willing to put up with a lot of junk (or even valuable items) in close proximity to their properties.
Not far from where I grew up in Cloverdale, there was such a property on the brow of the 64 Avenue hill, east of 180 Street.
That property had hundreds of old vehicles parked on it, many under the power lines.
There was a small house on the property, but it was dominated by the masses of old junk.
Another such property was owned by the father of MLA John van Dongen, on 16 Avenue at Lefeuvre Road in Abbotsford.
In recent years, the trucks, cars and farm machinery has disappeared — likely because the property has a new owner.
The old ferry, which was one of the first in the brand-new B.C. Ferries fleet when it was established by then-premier W.A.C. Bennett, is filled with intriguing items, from old cars to furniture.
The two guys who comprise the Canadian Pickers TV show visited it in a recent episode and other people have also been aboard and left a visual record of what they have seen online.
There is nothing wrong with this material being stored aboard the ferry, and in fact it is likely a far better place for it than in a field somewhere.
However, the owners need to remember that a boat must be moored properly so that it cannot move, no matter what the water level is. They also need to ensure that the boat is seaworthy, so that it does not sink.
And they need to be considerate of regulations of local, provincial and national governments.
Tapp will likely keep collecting things — it’s the way he’s built.
More power to him.
However, he and others in his situation need to be sure that their collections do not endanger others.