In an announcement Apr. 4, 2016, the City of New Westminster confirmed its intention to take ownership of the Massey Theatre land and building from School District 40. The announcement also confirms that the City and the Province will work together to invest in seismic upgrades to the theatre.
The Massey Theatre, which was opened in 1949 and has 1260 seats, a unique size in the local region, was slated for demolition in 2008. Community advocacy for the theatre, at that time, was successful and an alternate plan to replace the theatre was tabled jointly by the City and Board of Education in 2010. The newest option announced this week is the preferred outcome for the theatre among the community.
“Our historic Massey Theatre is, at last, positioned for success and long-term sustainability,” said Dylan Rickard, Chairman of the Massey Theatre’s Board of Directors, in response to the news. “We are thrilled with the collective efforts of the City of New Westminster, the Board of Education for District 40, and the Ministry of Education in developing this plan.”
Key components of the agreement in principle include:
- The existing 1,260 seat Massey Theatre along with the land under the Theatre will be gifted to the City of New Westminster
- The BC Ministry of Education is to finance the demolition of the existing gymnasium and re‐instatement of the Theatre’s exterior wall
- The Province will work collaboratively with the City of New Westminster to identify funding sources for future seismic upgrades to the Theatre.
“We have been working hard with SD40 and Ministry officials to develop an option for a plan of action that supports the school district’s work to replace NWSS and also provides for the retention of the Massey Theatre,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté in a media release. “We recognize the cultural value of Massey Theatre, not only to our city, but our region and we are excited to present a plan that accomplishes this objective.”