BC government to release business case to justify what new museum critics call a ‘billion dollar vanity project’

“I very much regret that the jewel of our collective history, the Royal BC Museum, has become political football,” Premier John Horgan said.

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VICTORIA – The British Columbia government will make its case for building a new Royal BC Museum after opposition targeted the initiative as a “billion-dollar vanity project.” dollar”.

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Tourism Minister Melanie Mark said Thursday there has been interest in the business case since the government announced the $789million rebuilding plan last Friday.

The government will publish its business case next Wednesday, she said in a statement.

The current museum building has been partially closed since January, when management abruptly decided to dismantle its popular human history galleries in the name of ‘decolonizing’ an attraction it said was plagued by ‘systemic racism’ .

Last week, Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon said he would halt construction plans if elected premier, while criticizing the timing of Premier John Horgan’s announcement of the project, which comes as the province is facing a shortage of doctors and a skyrocketing cost of living.

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Falcon asked the NDP to use the money earmarked for the project to help people pay their bills instead.

  1. The Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria will soon be closed and replaced in order to

    BC to demolish ‘racist’ museum and build replacement at unprecedented cost

  2. Old Town, one of many iconic exhibits at the Royal BC Museum slated for demolition in just weeks.

    Canada’s largest museum will be gutted in the name of ‘decolonization’

Horgan on Thursday defended his government’s decision to go ahead with the museum project.

“I very much regret that the jewel of our collective history, the Royal BC Museum, has become political football,” he told a news conference.

“We certainly did not intend to appear deaf to the challenges facing British Columbians. I know very well the impact of high gas prices on the constraints of respecting family budgets, the challenges of inflation at all levels.

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The museum has been in a difficult position for about two decades, he added.

The museum’s leaders and board members have pointed out its problems not only to his government, but also to precedents, he said. “Priceless artifacts” that detail Indigenous and immigrant stories, as well as flora and fauna that no longer exist due to climate change are at risk.

“The museum holds our collective history.”

The building is seismically unstable and also contains asbestos, which is of concern since it is visited by hundreds of schoolchildren every year, Horgan said.

“I don’t believe the public had a chance to fully understand how we got here,” he said. “I think the shock of an ad that wasn’t characterized appropriately led to some of the hard feelings.”

The museum renovation project has been discussed for five years with public engagement delayed by the pandemic, he said.

“I don’t blame the Official Opposition for being the Official Opposition,” Horgan said.

“But I’m curious why they would ignore this issue for 12 years and then all of a sudden decide it’s a negative rather than a positive for the people of British Columbia”

— With additional reporting by the National Post

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