Less than a month after announced a $789 million plan to replace the Royal BC Museum, the province is pausing the project.
The hefty price tag for the museum was a concern for many when the project was announced May 19. Premier John Horgan said it was the “wrong decision at the wrong time,” and that he simply got it wrong.
“I always try to act in the best interests of British Columbians,” Horgan said Wednesday. “That involves listening. That also means taking responsibility when you make the wrong call. Over the past few weeks, we listened to British Columbians who have made it clear they want the Royal BC Museum to remain open while we rethink our long-term plans to protect its priceless artifacts. That is exactly what we are going to do.”
The museum will remain open to visitors. The Royal BC Museum will now lead a broad public engagement to consider all options for the future of the museum.
Public engagement will seek input on what British Columbians want to see in a modernized museum experience. It will also address structural and safety issues identified with the current buildings. The structure, timeline and scope of the public engagement will be determined by the museum board with a view to connecting with the broadest possible range of British Columbians, including First Nations, business groups, members of the public and other stakeholders.
Construction of a new Collections and Research Building in Colwood will continue. Once it is complete, museum artifacts will be safely relocated there.