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Council approves $4M restoration for Fort Langley’s Haldi House

Building will be moved and placed on a new foundation to protect it from floods
Pedestrians pass Haldi House, a historic Fort Langley building. Langley Township council has voted to spend $4 million to restore the building, and re-open it for public gatherings. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Langley Township voted to move forward on a $4 million project to restore the historic Haldi House in Fort Langley.

The vote came at the end of the Monday, April 15 meeting, with Mayor Eric Woodward recusing himself from debate, as his foundation owns a significant amount of commercial land in downtown Fort Langley.

The plan approved by council will involve major renovations to the house, which was built around 1908 by local carpenter W.H. “Billy” Brown, the namesake of nearby Billy Brown Road.

“Preliminary waterfront planning has sufficiently progressed to determine a suitable location to restore the structure to its previous prominence on the Glover Road streetscape,” a report to the council on the project said.

A restaurant for many years, additions were built onto the structure several times including in 1965 when it first became known as the Bedford House and Lounge Restaurant.

The plan is to remove most of those additions, returning Haldi House to its historic size.

It will be jacked up, moved slightly away from the Fraser River and closer to Glover Road, and placed on a new, higher foundation to protect it from any future high water events.

It will then become a public gathering place for Fort Langley events and functions.

Council was unanimous in approving the project.

“When I made this motion a year or so ago about looking at the waterfront of Fort Langley, a key component of that was Haldi House,” said Councillor Misty vanPopta.

She noted that the building has been maintained, despite being empty for many years now.

“I know the people in Fort Langley are pretty excited to finally see something happen with this property,” said Coun. Barb Martens.

If approved, the funding will see the removal of the additions that were built when the building was turned into a restaurant.

The original three-storey structure will be raised and shifted to the north, and will continue to face Glover Road.

It will need modernized electrical, water, sewer, and heating and air conditioning work. A wrap-around veranda will complete its return to its original appearance.

The entire project is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete, if approved.

A related part of the project is to continue with designs and begin the permitting process to create a pedestrian overpass near the railway that runs past the site. The Township staff are also to look into getting funding from the provincial and federal governments for this project, if possible. Otherwise, the $100,000 funding is to come from the Township’s capital projects reserve fund.

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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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