The controversial Trans Mountain expansion might go straight through Walnut Grove’s Redwoods Golf Course, according to the most recent maps of the route.
The planned expansion and twinning of the oil and bitumen pipeline will include new routes in areas – like Walnut Grove – where development now surrounds the existing pipeline, laid in the 1950s.
Despite the recent announcement that construction is starting as of September, Redwoods management hasn’t seen much beyond the map showing they’re on the pipeline route.
“That’s all we’ve seen,” said Doug Hawley, manager of Redwoods.
Since the spring, Redwoods management has been trying to arrange a meeting with key staff to have more extensive discussions, but he said the pipeline company has not been receptive.
“It’s something we are considering,” Hawley said of requesting that the pipeline not go through the course at all.
Redwoods is privately owned, but almost a decade ago Langley Township entered into a purchase agreement with the owners. At the end of a 20-year period – with a 10-year possible extension – the Township will take it over as a possible park.
That means the Township is also involved in discussions over Redwoods’ fate.
Hawley said the concern is what sort of disruption pipeline construction could cause to the course.
Courses are engineered with trees and other natural barriers to keep the various holes and greens safely separated. If a large stand of trees was affected, “it could cause potential hazard to golfers,” Hawley said.
Redwoods emailed a response to questions by the Langley Advance on the Redwoods issue.
“We have been working with those who will be impacted by our route and construction plans, including the Township of Langley and the Redwoods Golf Course operator, to adjust the pipeline alignment through the golf course within the approved NEB corridor to minimize impacts to both the golf course and its neighbours,” said the statement.
“Based on technical considerations and input received through our engagement activities, an eastern alignment through the golf course is now considered the best option and has been refined to minimize disturbance to existing fairways and greens. We plan to cross the Hope Redwoods Natural Area by trenchless construction and it is not impacted by this routing refinement. This update was communicated to neighbours near the Redwoods Golf Course earlier this year,” the statement continued.
By running the route entirely within the golf course, it will reduce construction impacts to other neighbours of the course, said Trans Mountain.
The project has drawn criticism from environmentalists, and particularly from members of the Kwantlen First Nation. There have been several protest marches against the plan since it was first announced several years ago.
The project, approved at the federal level but now opposed by the new NDP-Green B.C. government, would almost triple the amount of oil shipped from Alberta to a refinery in Burnaby. It would also sharply increase the number of tankers in the Strait of Georgia.