Langley’s Matheson House getting new look

Interior of Matheson House receiving $300,000 in renovation work, will be used as daycare

Years after the Township spent thousands of dollars to move it, Matheson House is about to have a long-awaited interior facelift.

More importantly, a new lease agreement between the Township and the Langley Meadow’s Community Association signed in early May, gives the LMCA authority to sublet the old house.

The LMCA was approached by a private-sector daycare provider which will run a for-profit daycare. To prepare for this, the daycare owner will make approximately $300,000 in renovations to the interior of Matheson House which was essentially gutted when it was moved to its current location at 19893 64 Ave. from 19909 64 Ave. where it had been built in 1889.

David Leavers, head of the Township’s Parks and Recreation department, said that the lease is for 15 years. The daycare will open in September on the upper floor while a pre-school will occupy the ground floor. The community will have use of the lower floor during non-school hours, Leavers said.

Community use could include meeting rooms, miscellaneous programs and a reading club.

The Township has invested more than $200,000 in Matheson House, and a big chunk of that was to move it, Leavers said. Preparing the foundations cost almost $40,000.

In 2002, a Township councillor called the Township’s venture in moving the house “moronic.”

Now, 10 years after Township council’s first investment, the house is about to become functional.

“We are ecstatic as a parks department to see this space utilized for the intended betterment of the community,” Leavers said.

“It will be nice to see this matter resolved so that Matheson House can become utilized for the community.”

It should be functional by September.

Over the years, Matheson House had become almost hidden from view, its exterior shielded by trees and shrubs that formed a thick hedge.

As a result, it was kept off a list of heritage buildings that was compiled in the late 1990s.

Al Peterson was president of the LMCA when he stumbled across the house in 2002.

The discovery set in motion the process to make the house, then vacant and damaged by vandals, into a focal point of the Langley Meadows community. It also saved the house from demolition.