New Westminster – The City of New Westminster and New Westminster Schools (School District No. 40) are proud to announce that they are in the final stages of an agreement that will facilitate the sale of the Massey Theatre and a surrounding parcel of land, transferring ownership from the District to the City.
New Westminster Schools has been the owner of Massey Theatre and long-time landlord to the Massey Theatre Society – including both the theatre and gallery space connected to the old New Westminster Secondary School. As the project to replace the high school is moving into the Phase 2 decommissioning and deconstruction work, it was time to pass the management of the space on to someone else. And that’s where the City of New Westminster has stepped in as a natural partner.
For the cost of one dollar, the City of New Westminster will purchase the Massey Theatre and an adjacent section of land, building on the District’s years of support for this local icon and hub within the New Westminster arts community.
“The City of New Westminster is proud to take ownership of the Massey Theatre and Complex and continue the legacy of this important community asset which supports a variety of arts, cultural and community uses,” said Mayor Jonathan Coté. “This acquisition reinforces our commitment to the arts and we look forward to working collaboratively with the Massey Theatre Society which has provided outstanding artistic performances, services, and education to our community and region for decades.”
New Westminster Schools Chair Dhaliwal spoke to what the partnership is providing the community, “We know how important the Massey Theatre is to New Westminster – both for our students but also for the whole community. That’s why we’re so glad that we were able to work alongside the City, as we know they are equally as invested in supporting this iconic and important arts hub as we have been for years. It is another great example of where we share interests and values between our organizations.”
The Board of Education for New Westminster Schools will be reading and looking to pass the bylaw that will allow transfer of ownership. This will take place over two nights as they plan to take first and second readings in a special open meeting on Monday, September 27th, with time for a third reading fit into their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 28th. Links to attend both virtual meetings are available on the school district’s website.
With the passing of the bylaw, the transfer of the property will then be able to be completed.
Following the completion of the land transfer agreement with the District, the City of New Westminster will finalize a new lease and working agreement with the Massey Theatre Society. The agreement will establish a reciprocally beneficial operating model that aligns with the City’s Strategic Plan, Arts Strategy and Theatre Strategy, leveraging the resources, assets, skill and expertise of the Massey Theatre Society to deliver services on behalf of the City.
Given the historical significance of the overall property, both parties have ensured and agreed that future use of the space should consider and recognize the diverse cultural heritage of the site and should respect all groups who have historical connections to the site.
The sale of the property includes the Massey Theatre building, an adjacent parking lot, and an extension of land that will push out to Eighth Street. The new property line will run along the same line as the North end of Moody Arena and will now give the City of New Westminster full ownership of that stretch of Eighth Avenue, while keeping open the road and pedestrian access to New Westminster Secondary School that runs between the arena and the theatre.
The City of New Westminster and New Westminster Schools are both committed to continued collaboration as they deliver on the roles they each play in supporting the needs of students, families and the whole community.
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