Houseboat rebel remains defiant

BILL MOORE
Last updated 08:52 15/05/2014
houseboat
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ

DEFIANT PROCLAMATION: Paul Jepson's houseboat, due to be removed from Nelson Haven by the city council next week, with "Life will go on long after money'' painted on the structure's side.

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The cat-and-mouse game between maverick houseboat builder Paul Jepson and the Nelson City Council is not played out yet, with neither side observing a court-imposed deadline.

Mr Jepson's three-week window to remove his home-made craft expired on Tuesday. He has shown no signs of doing anything about it since the Environment Court issued its ruling, deeming the houseboat to be a structure without a resource consent, being used as a dwelling.

His only observed moves have been to have it towed from near Boulder Bank Drive at the northern end of the Haven to a spot much closer to the city, and to defiantly paint "Life will go on long after money" on one wall.

The court ruled that he had to remove it within three weeks or have it confiscated by the council.

He built it last year from drums he obtained for nothing, wooden pallets and recycled corrugated iron.

He has fitted it out with a rainwater collection system, a pot-bellied stove and a bed, and through a friend has said he is broke and unemployed, and just wants to live quietly and cheaply on board, out of everyone's way.

This morning the water-borne mobile home was where it has been for the past fortnight, just off Queen Elizabeth II drive near the Haven outlet of the Maitai River, with no activity to be seen.

Council communications manager Angela Ricker said that now the deadline had come and gone, "we will make plans to remove the structure".

She confirmed that the council had not had any conversation with the elusive Jepson, who has spurned requests for an interview and once threw stones at a Nelson Mail photographer, when she drew near.

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- Nelson

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