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Turning 10: What do you think of Anvil Centre in New West?

Get engaged: New Westminster wants to get your input on how to deepen the community’s connection to Anvil Centre.
Lunar New Year activities in 2023 are among the many events that have taken place in Anvil Centre since it opened in September 2014.

The City of New Westminster is seeking input into Anvil Centre – a facility that’s turning 10 this year.

Located at 777 Columbia St. in downtown New West, Anvil Centre opened on Sept. 14, 2014. It was envisioned to be a cultural venue and a boutique conference centre.

Now, the city wants to hear from citizens about whether Anvil Centre is fulfilling its role in the community. It’s launched a public engagement process to get the community’s feedback on Anvil Centre.

“Anvil Centre is almost 10 years old! As we approach this milestone for the city-owned cultural and conference facility we have a chance to reflect on what’s working well and whether any adjustments or new opportunities should be considered,” said a posting on Be Heard New West. “We want to hear about your experiences at Anvil Centre, and what ideas and suggestions you might have to build on the existing programs and services, bring more people in, and deepen the community’s connection to the facility.”

Anvil Centre is home to conference facilities, the New Westminster Museum and Archives, the New Media Gallery, the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Anvil Theatre and community spaces where events and programs are offered.

“The city wants to make sure Anvil Centre is serving the downtown and broader New West community well, and we are open to ideas that will enhance what is currently offered in the facility,” said the posting. “However, the city intends to continue current services, and major renovations to the building are not planned. We will work within the existing building configuration to respond to what we hear from the community about priorities for this public facility.”

Nearly 7,000 people attended the Sept. 14, 2014 grand opening of Anvil Centre.

It cost the City of New Westminster about $40 million to build the facility – with the bulk of funding coming from casino gaming funds known as development assistance compensation. As part of the city’s decision to allow a destination casino to open in New West, the city, the provincial government, the BC Lottery Corporation and the casino operator signed a four-party agreement in 2007 providing up to $60.5 million for five projects in the Downtown/Queensborough neighbourhoods.

Input wanted

In recent years, New West city council and staff have had several discussions about Anvil Centre’s role in the community, and now the city wants to get public input.

Here are some of the ways you can share your thoughts about Anvil Centre.

An in-person community workshop is taking place on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at Anvil Centre. Refreshments will be provided.

Registration is required for the Feb. 22 workshop so the city can make sure enough staff are on hand.

The New Westminster Museum and the New Media Gallery are both open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays so folks are invited to drop by before or after the workshop.

Two drop-in sessions are being held at Anvil Centre, with community members invited to stay for a few minutes or for the entire two-hour session. No registration is required for the drop-ins, which are free and include snacks, prizes, and activities for kids, as well as tours of Anvil Centre.

  • A drop-in is taking place on Monday, Feb. 19 (Family Day) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other Family Day activities taking place in Anvil Centre on Family Day include an open lab, a family printmaking workshop, and visits to the museum, the New Media Gallery and the community art gallery.
  • A drop-in is taking place on Thursday, Feb. 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Anvil Centre. (The New Westminster Museum and the New Media Gallery are open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays

The City of New Westminster is also providing several online opportunities to get input about Anvil Centre. Input via these online tools is open until end-of-day on Monday, March 4.

  • An online survey gives community a chance to take a quick three-question survey about their experiences visiting Anvil Centre – or reasons why they don’t visit.
  • An online discussion forum is a moderated conversation that features a new question each week.
  • An online ideas board is a place where community members can make suggestions on how the City of New Westminster can make Anvil Centre feel more welcoming and community focused.

According to Be Heard New West, input collected through this engagement will be used to help inform recommendations to enhance the facility and offerings of Anvil Centre.

Did you know?

  • Anvil Centre is an 84,000-square-foot building that houses many of the city’s cultural services, some arts and culture activities, a conference centre, and flexible spaces for meetings, special events, exhibitions, conferences and programs.
  • Conference services bring 55,000 or more deletes annually to Anvil Centre and the City of New Westminster. (Because conference event takes place behind the closed walls of the ballroom, staff say this creates a perception that the space is not being used.)
  • The majority of conference services events are private events and aren’t advertised to the public.

(Facts pulled from 2023 staff reports to city council about Anvil Centre)