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Year in Review: Electric cars boom even as oil pipeline begins construction through Langley

More car chargers are being installed in Langley
Pipes that are part of the future expanded Trans Mountain Pipeline route in a field off Telegraph Trail west of Glover Road on Friday, April 8. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

After years of legal and political wrangling, protests from local First Nations and environmentalists, and a buyout by the federal government, the expanded Trans Mountain oil pipeline began construction in Langley in 2022.

The pipeline’s original course, built in the 1950s, runs through North Langley. Parts of the new pipeline parallel the old one, but other portions took a different course.

Work began in April near Telegraph Trail, just east of Walnut Grove. Large segments of pipe were stacked up as a trench was dug through farmland for the pipeline to be buried.

Much of the route follows either the rail line north of Walnut Grove, or Telegraph Trail, veering around the village of Fort Langley.

A connecting section of the new pipeline runs north-south through the Redwoods Golf Course, which caused the closure of the links for much of the season. April 18 was the last day of regular play, although some parts of the facility remained open.

The course was planning to take advantage of the disruption to redesign some of the course in its aftermath.

“You have to completely rebuild the area,” said Redwoods managing director Doug Hawley.

The end point of the pipeline is a refinery in Burnaby, from which crude or refined products can be pumped onto ships in Burrard Inlet.

Even as the biggest pipeline project in B.C. in years was under construction, more and more Langley residents were turning to cars that don’t burn fossil fuels at all when they drive.

Early in the year, the provincial government announced that 13 per cent of all new vehicle sales in 2021 had been of electric or hybrid-electric vehicles. That was up from nine per cent the year before.

Then in December, then-Minister of Energy Bruce Ralston was in Langley to announce the opening of a number of new fast-charging stations across the region, and he provided an update – up to September, EVs made up 17 per cent of new vehicle sales in B.C.

A significant number of those cars are on the roads in Langley.

Rebates to new car buyers in Langley for picking up an EV hit a total of 2,332 by early in the year, according to Blair Qualey of the B.C. New Car Dealers Association.

Meanwhile, TransLink was planning for both more electric buses – although none of the few it’s acquired so far are operating in Langley – and to get more people out of their cars entirely. New Bus Rapid Transit routes (BRTs) for Langley were announced in 2022, down 200th Street from the Golden Ears Bridge to Langley City.

Those routes are eventually planned to extend down into Brookswood and west to South Surrey, part of a network of bus-based rapid transit along major roads.

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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