Horgan suspends controversial reconstruction of Royal Royal Museum

Written by Javed Iqbal

The province is suspending the controversial $ 789-million plan to rebuild the Royal BC Museum, Prime Minister John Horgan announced Wednesday.

Horgan said the costly project was the “wrong decision at the wrong time” and that the government heard opposition from British Colombians “loud and clear”.

“I called wrong,” the prime minister said. “I called when British Colombians were thinking of other concerns.”

Horgan explained that British Colombians were unwilling to accept a $ 800 million price tag for the project, while the province faces a shortage of doctors, rising cost of living and other critical issues emerging from the pandemic.

ONE vote published last week by the Angus Reid Institute found that 69 per cent of British Colombians are against the plan.

The museum upgrade, announced in May, includes plans to tear down and rebuild the museum in Victoria over the course of nearly a decade.

The premiere said the province is now going “back to the drawing board” and that the museum will remain open indefinitely. He announced that a comprehensive consultation process would begin to ensure that British Colombians have the opportunity to provide input on how the Royal BC Museum should be upgraded.

Horgan said he does not support a renovation and is still convinced the building needs to be rebuilt.

Tourism Minister Melanie Mark has defended the reconstruction and described the museum in its current state as “not functional”. She said it needs seismic upgrades, is fraught with hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead, inaccessible to people with disabilities and structurally inadequate to maintain its current collection or host major exhibitions.

The exterior of the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria in 2021. (Mike McArthur / CBC)

After criticism of plans to rebuild the museum, the province released more than 2,300 partially edited pages of reports and appendices supporting the disputed project and to explain why a complete remodel is needed.

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Javed Iqbal

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