The CN Rail lines being laid through Langley in 1911. The tracks would cut through the properties now needed for the Trans Mountain right of way. (Langley Centennial Museum collection)

Mystery Langley lands needed for pipeline project left off records for years

The tiny slivers of land were lost due to some kind of error

The mystery plot of land that Trans Mountain pipeline company needs to access in North Langley wasn’t sold off at auction decades ago because Langley Township didn’t know it existed until 2016.

Trans Mountain has been trying to trace the heirs of James C. Kavanagh so it can negotiate access to two small pieces of property, both bisected by the Canadian National Railway in northern Walnut Grove. The land access is needed for the oil pipeline expansion project.

The company has run into problems because Kavanagh, a financier and hotelier who made his fortune in Manitoba in the 18oos, died in 1922.

The pipeline firm has used genealogical research to find Kavanagh’s living descendents to try to locate an heir to the land.

Since no one has been paying property taxes on the properties, they should have been put up for auction or taken over by Langley Township decades ago.

READ MORE: Land owned by man dead since 1922 needed for pipeline

However, according to a Township spokesperson, municipal authorities only became aware the properties even existed in 2017, when they were added to the property tax rolls for the first time.

According to correspondence between Trans Mountain and the National Energy Board, the land was surveyed in 1908. But sometime after the rail line went through in 1911 – the year Kavanagh bought the properties – there was an error of some kind in the land title records.

The error was not noticed until 2016. The Township then put the land back on its property tax rolls in 2017.

Since no one has been paying taxes on the land, the Township has the right to auction them off for nonpayment. However, that can only happen after three years of consecutive nonpayment of property taxes, meaning 2020 is the first year the lands might go up for sale, if no heir is found.

The two lots are minuscule, divided by the rail line and right of way, and surrounded by housing and industrial property. They are assessed at $9,000 for the larger and just $200 for the smaller, making them some of the cheapest properties in Langley.

Trans Mountain is required to reach agreements for access with each landowner along the route of the expanded pipeline. If no agreement can be reached, the Canadian Energy Regulatory may ultimately grant Trans Mountain right to enter the property in any case.

Just Posted

Langley’s “spider house” now open for Halloween haunts

Brinkworth Dungeon adds an extra 1600 square feet for more terror during their 19th year

Aldergrove Kodiaks beat Surrey Knights by a landslide victory at home

The bears took out Surrey 15-0, ending their own four-game losing streak

Zoo awarded for its restoration of the Salmon River

The zoo was recognized in collaboration on the project with LEPS and Person Ecological

Backpacks, blankets distributed to Langley homeless

A local auto dealer teamed with a church to hand out survival supplies

Witnesses sought in person at Langley collision scene Friday

Police will be out trying to find drivers who witnesses something the day of the impact

Fashion Fridays: 5 things to remove from your closet

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Workers at four Vancouver hotels ratify contract with higher wages, job security

Unite Here Local 40 president Zailda Chan says it’s the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read