Odd Thoughts: History taken for a ride over Langley/Maple Ridge crossing

The Fraser River crossing debate has a long history.

Some of the best comedy is found in history.

Consider the mad case of the never-ending ferry project.

It’s easy to forget, as you nip over the Golden Ears Bridge for a quick trip into Maple Ridge, that the crossing used to be a rigmarole, and not without peril. The ferry that connected Fort Langley with Albion made the trip in just a few minutes, but line-ups for boarding could run into hours.

And then, sometimes, the ferry didn’t make it across… when “the rubber band broke,” people would laugh. But it was only funny for those who weren’t aboard when a tug had to catch the ferry downriver and drag it back up.

Even longer than the ride across the river was the ferry’s voyage from conception to berth… and then another berth… and then another berth.

The first serious attempt to develop a Fraser River crossing between Langley and Haney started in the 1920s. Disagreements over the where-to-where of it eventually scuttled the plan.

By the mid-1930s, all pertinent federal, provincial, and municipal authorities were on board… sort of. A site for a McMillan Island ferry slip was selected and inspected and the province agreed to build an access road.

The next two years were spent quibbling over whether the ferry would support vehicles or just pedestrian traffic.

Another year, and the wharf was ready for a ferry… but there was no location yet chosen on the other side. It would be three years before any ferry launched from the Langley side could find a berth in Haney – and another two years before there was a ferry – and two more years to find a captain.

When the slips, captain, and ferry (a tug and barge) were ready to make steam, the captain fell ill and there was no one left on the bridge.

In the meantime, Fort Langley began clamouring for a bridge instead of a ferry – a story that continued to 2009.

After another decade of Keystone Cops slapstick, Premier Wacky Bennett built new wharves to replace the unused ones that had decayed beyond repair, and the T’Lagunna (named for “Golden Ears” but actually meaning “deaf”) left Fort Langley for Albion in June of 1957.

The maiden launch took place without key dignitary Highways Minister Flyin’ Phil Gaglardi.

He’d missed the boat.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Celebrities support Langley Christmas food and toy drive

Sexual abuse survivor organized annual event for people in need

VIDEO: Aldergrove Children’s Christmas Party

Princesses aplenty along with Santa and Mrs. Claus, ballon animals and face painting

Volunteers needed for Langley Christmas bird count

Annual event is part of 118-year-old tradition

VIDEO: Protesters stage Langley overpass against proposed UN ‘compact’ on immigration

If Canada endorses the document, it will have less say over who is allowed in the country, they said

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

B.C. police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

Canadians spent $1.7 billion dollars online in December 2017

Online retail sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total retail sales

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

China: Canada’s detention of Huawei exec ‘vile in nature’

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet company

VIDEO: Aldergrove Christmas Parade attracts big crowds

Families lined up all along parade route in downtown Aldergrove

Most Read