First day, first promise from the leader of the official opposition Kevin Falcon.
Hours after being sworn in as the MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena, Falcon vowed to stop a nearly $800 million rebuild of the Royal BC Museum if elected premier in the next provincial election.
“At a time when British Columbians are struggling, the highest housing prices, the highest gas prices, the premier thinks this is the right time for a vanity museum project,” Falcon told reporters.
“Nowhere in the budget can I see any capital spending. Nowhere can I see a budget plan.”
The B.C. government is set to spend three-quarters of a billion dollars to build a brand new Royal BC Museum in Victoria.The province is spending $789-million on the new project.
The current museum will close its doors for the rebuild in September.
The building is seismically unsafe and two floors of the museum are underground. The cost of addressing those two issues is adding to the high price tag.
“It is not seismically safe. It has been, in my opinion, ignored by governments for the past 20 years. I was briefed as an opposition member back in 2010 — the member was in cabinet at that time — and it was abundantly clear to the then CEO of the Royal BC Museum that something needed to be done to protect and preserve our collective history,” B.C. Premier John Horgan said.
The Royal BC Museum has presented a plan to the province for rebuilding the museum.
The plan, nor a full business plan, has been presented to the public.
The BC Liberals are calling on the province to make a business plan available. The government has promised to make it available as soon as possible.
“The timing of this announcement is unbelievable,” Falcon said.
The NDP could renovate the museum to be seismically safe at a much lower cost, while still ensuring adequate resources for conservation and Indigenous repatriation efforts to ensure the museum reflects the full history of British Columbia.”
Horgan said the government has spent the past five years doing diligence on the project.
“We believe we’ve arrived at that point, listening to the board of directors, listening to the CEOs, putting in place a plan that we believe is achievable to protect our collective history. I think you should get behind that, not oppose it,” Horgan said.