Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins has lived in her float home in the Westbay Marine Village for the last 11 years.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins has lived in her float home in the Westbay Marine Village for the last 11 years.

Life on the water suits Esquimalt mayor

Some days, Barb Desjardins misses the ability to pop out the back door in her pajamas and fiddle around in her garden.

Some days, Barb Desjardins misses the ability to pop out the back door in her pajamas and fiddle around in her garden. She admits she isn’t a good gardener, but still likes to throw things into the ground to see if she can make it grow.

But 11 years ago, Desjardins (the mayor of Esquimalt) and her husband traded in their home on the Gorge Waterway for a spacious 2,300-square-foot float home in Esquimalt’s Westbay Marine Village. Now her back door leads to an 18-foot boat the couple uses to drop crab traps and travel to various places in the region. The change in lifestyle never gets old.

“Living here, the beauty of this region just shouts at you. I get to see something that changes every minute of the day out here,” said Desjardins, who lives at the end of one of the docks, providing a front row view of Victoria’s harbour and an assortment of marine life.

“At night the lights of Victoria are spectacular…I can just sit here and listen to the water. I’ve always found the water sound is calming. I think I was born to be near or on the water.”

When the Desjardins decided that their property on the Gorge was too much to handle, they never gave much thought to living in a float home. They knew they wanted something new or nearly new with view of the water or at the water. Low maintenance was key.

An ad in a local newspaper about an open house for a float home in the Westbay Marine Village caught the couple’s eye. They viewed the showhome, but weren’t completely sold on the idea of not owning any land.

The marina owner suggested they spend a long weekend at a bed and breakfast in the marine village to get a feel for life on the water. By the end of the weekend, the Desjardins had made up their mind.

“It was the most incredible weather, we had a front porch and we just sat there, had a glass of wine and looked at the view,” said Desjardins, noting the pair lease the water lot, but own the house. “It’s a weird concept and it takes a bit to wrap your head around. It’s scary for people to think that they don’t have land.”

The Desjardins’ 55-tonne home was built at the Point Hope shipyard in Victoria, then floated over to Esquimalt, becoming one of the first homes in the marine village. Some of the approximately 20 homes in the four-acre water community near the west edge of Victoria’s outer harbour were built in Campbell River and brought down by barge. Others were brought in from Vancouver.

Inside the gated community, Desjardins’ colourful three-storey home includes three balconies, plenty of windows, three bedrooms, and three bathrooms, along with in-floor radiant heating and all the amenities of a regular home due to the lines that run through the marina’s docks. The house also has five piles to hold it in during bad weather, which causes the home to move.

Desjardins notices the movement during some of the storms, but has gotten used to it since it’s all part of the lifestyle. Living on the water is something the pair don’t plan on changing any time soon.

“It can be serene and I can be totally separate from the world or I can be totally included in the world. That’s my choice, living here,” said Desjardins, noting many people live on the boats scattered in between the homes. “It’s just a community where people have come for the lifestyle.”

 

 

 

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

Just Posted

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read