The grave of Ellen Culbert on 216th Street in Langley. The pioneer cemetery is a tiny separate property of its own. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

The grave of Ellen Culbert on 216th Street in Langley. The pioneer cemetery is a tiny separate property of its own. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s tiniest lots include land just for garbage and a pioneer cemetery

Langley’s smallest properties have been carved off for various reasons over the last century

Looking for affordable real estate in Langley?

How does $98 grab you as a selling price?

The cheapest lot in Langley was assessed at exactly that value in 2020, according to BC Assessments.

There are a few drawbacks, however, including size – it’s just 194 square feet.

Across Langley, there are small parcels of land that have been, for various reasons, divided up and reduced in size until they are, by themselves, almost unusable.

But they remain on the property rolls – an owner somewhere has to pay property tax on these small, often oddly-shaped pieces of property.

The $98 lot in Langley sits in the 20800 block of 72nd Avenue, close to the road.

It’s a tiny square chunk of land that appears to be part of a road frontage, and to have been carved out into its present state by the subdivision of a previous property, as well as by the creation of a driveway to the west.

Another of the odd lots in Langley is passed by thousands of drivers every day, but is barely noticed.

Located in the 6200 block of 216th Street is a 667 square foot property – about the size of a one bedroom or studio apartment – valued at $3,100.

It’s one of Langley’s oldest cemeteries, containing just two graves.

“Most of the churches in Langley didn’t have a church yard,” explains Kobi Christian, a curator at the Langley Centennial Museum.

But St. Alban’s Church, built on the site in 1890, did have its own graveyard.

Despite that amenity, only two people were ever buried there, both from the same family, the Culberts.

One was a child of the family just a few years old, the other was Ellen Culbert, the family’s mother, who died in 1894 at just 49 years old herself.

The Culberts would be an important family in the settlement of Langley – Ellen Culbert’s daughter would marry George Blair, a prominent local farmer, and their grandson was W.C. Blair, after whom the pool and rec centre in Murrayville was named.

Despite the site’s link to history, it is largely forgotten except by historians and heritage advocates because the church itself was moved almost a century ago.

St. Alban’s still stands, but at Fraser Highway and 248th Street, near the Otter Co-op.

The smallest lot currently available in Langley is harder to find than either of those.

It’s 39 square feet.

The lot, a tiny triangle of property, sits on the north side of the 20000 block of Fraser Highway and is part of the Milani Norman auto dealership lot.

“It’s Langley City’s way of making things complicated,” said Chris Norman of Milani Norman. His family owns the tiny lot, which he said was split off by the City for reasons to do with garbage collection at least 25 years ago.

“You can’t even park a car on it,” he noted of the tiny lot.

But it’s not much of an inconvenience. Paying property taxes on the extra piece of land just takes the push of a button on the computer these days, Norman said.

Along with these odd and orphaned lots, there have even been lots that have become lost for years before being found again.

In 2019, lawyers for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project had to set out frantically tracing the heirs of James C. Kavanagh, a financier and hotelier who had died in 1922.

Kavanagh had sold a lot in Walnut Grove to the Canadian National Railway around 1911, which bisected a chunk of property, leaving two tiny triangular slivers on either side.

Those lots were then apparently forgotten about by the B.C. Land Title Office, and the Township only learned they existed again when they were rediscovered in 2017 – just in time for Trans Mountain to need one of them for a right of way.

That set off a flurry of searches for living descendants of Kavanagh, everywhere from Langley to California to Connecticut.

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

READ MORE: Mystery Langley lands needed for pipeline project left off records for years

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