David Gray says the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline will knock down a wooded area on his property where he and his wife walk every day. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

David Gray says the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline will knock down a wooded area on his property where he and his wife walk every day. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Langley man irked that pipeline will knock down his woods

The Trans Mountain expansion cuts through his back yard

David Gray says he feels a bit like Don Quixote sometimes after spending years trying to avoid having the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion cross his Langley property.

“The real issue is, to put it down, they have to knock down a huge swath of land down on our property,” Gray said.

Since the expansion was announced in 2013, he’s been opposed because of the impact it will have on his land.

“We have had this hanging over our head for seven years,” Gray said.

Gray said he’s lost his bid to stop the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) from moving ahead on his property, and now he will lose the woods where he and his wife walk every day.

“I have stuck with the process, gone through it all,” he said.

Gray lives southeast of Fort Langley, where the pipeline cuts across the ridges above Glen Valley and the Salmon River floodplain.

The original pipeline runs through his five-acre property. Built in the 1950s, its presence is visible because of a lack of trees – there’s just grass and moss above the original route.

The new pipeline will go in along that same alignment, but to get in the heavy equipment and dig a trench for the expansion, Gray has been told most of the trees on the back portion of his property will come down.

A series of paths wind between the trees, where Gray and his wife, retirees, walk every day.

He doesn’t want to lose the woods, but at this point he’s resigned to it. He has consulted a lawyer and heard that there’s basically no chance of a successful legal challenge.

“The federal government has a machine place,” said Gray. “It’s steamrollering through anyone with a different point of view.”

Gray said he asked the CER to have the pipeline go south around his property, through a turf farm, where there would be no trees to cut down, or to be tunnelled under it.

Trans Mountain won’t change the route, but has said they will have the land replanted.

The pipeline, which was bought by the federal government in 2018 from its previous owner, Kinder Morgan does have to compensate landowners.

“Where Trans Mountain does acquire land rights for the expansion project, landowners are entitled to compensation for the lands used, both for short-term construction and permanent easement, in addition to damages or inconvenience,” the company’s website says. “This compensation is in addition to our legal requirement and corporate commitment to minimize damages and restore lands as far as practicable to pre-construction conditions.”

Gray doesn’t think restoration will mean much to him.

“I might, if I’m lucky, have 10 years in me,” said Gray. “It takes 25 years to grow back.”

He’s also to be compensated financially, but the trees – alders and cottonwoods – aren’t financially valuable.

“But that’s not what the value of this place is to us,” he said.

Construction of some sections of the pipeline and its infrastructure around Surrey and Abbotsford began in 2020, and construction in Langley is expected to begin sometime in 2021.

READ MORE: Construction starts on Trans Mountain in Langley next year

LangleyTrans Mountain pipeline

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

Just Posted

The Langley School District issues COVID-19 notifications when cases are discovered at local public school. Fraser Health handles contact tracing and all medical aspects for all local schools. (Langley Schools)
Positive COVID test at RE Mountain Secondary

10 schools in the Langley District have had exposures

John Campbell, with the Langley Rotary Club, got to check out the recently installed cold frames with Douglas Park Community School teacher Lorraine Goulet. (John Campbell/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Rotary donation allows Langley students to get growing

Douglas Park Community School has new cold frames for its courtyard garden

Police blocked off 40th Avenue on Jan. 10, 2015 while firefighters battled a meth lab blaze. The fire has led to a lawsuit against Langley Township. (Langley Advance Times files)
Bill for meth lab fire leads to lawsuit against Langley Township

Local farmers say they shouldn’t have to pay costs of putting out fire in rental house

Wes Barker, second from left, with fellow Big Trick Energy show performers on “Ellen,” in video posted to youtube.com.
VIDEO: On ‘Ellen,’ former Langley man works magic with new ‘Big Trick Energy’ gang

A decade ago, Wes Barker quit his job with the City of Surrey to do magic professionally

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020.   THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More Langley-area business closed due to COVID-19

Any business with three or more cases among employees can be closed

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

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

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Kelly Ng (left) tries to get the attention of Podzol and Aquila as twin sister, Pauline Ng, snaps a photo of the two dogs by a field of hyacinths at the Chilliwack Tulips attraction on April 13. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
PHOTOS: Strolling through tulips, hyacinths and daffodils at Chilliwack Tulips attraction

Colourful spring flower attraction now open in Chilliwack, continues into May

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Valen a student of Coldstream Elementary writes advice for adults amid a pandemic.
‘We can get rid of COVID together’: B.C. kids share heartwarming advice

Elementary students share their wisdom to adults in unprecedented times

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. health minister says delay in Moderna vaccine ‘disappointing’

‘The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame,’ Adrian Dix said Friday

Most Read