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B.C. premier made the 'wrong call,' stops $800 million museum project

The Canadian Press
B.C. premier made the 'wrong call,' stops $800 million museum project
MICHAL KLAJBAN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - The B.C. government has announced it will halt a $800-million project to replace the current Royal B.C. Museum (above) in Victoria, B.C. The government released documents last month supporting the earlier decision to replace the museum rather than renovations and repair on the current building, which would have cost $300 million.

VICTORIA – British Columbia Premier John Horgan has announced his government is stopping the $800-million replacement of the Royal B.C. Museum, saying he made the “wrong call.”

Horgan said he’s heard from B.C. residents that it was the wrong time for the construction and they’ll go back to the drawing board to find a project that all residents can get behind.

“We made choices based on the best information at hand and we thought we had it right. Clearly we did not,” Horgan said during a news conference on Wednesday.

“It’s my responsibility to say to you today that I made the wrong call. That’s not to say that the work that needs to be done at the (museum) should be suspended indefinitely”

He said British Columbians are talking about other concerns right now, like primary care for their families, education, cost of living and a range of other issues as the province emerges from a global pandemic.

Just last month, the government released thousands of pages of documents supporting its decision to build a new museum after it considered renovating and repairing the current building in Victoria at a cost of $300 million more than replacement.

The Opposition Liberals have been critical of the replacement plan, saying that money is being spent while almost a million people in B.C. don’t have a family doctor and many are struggling to pay their housing and fuel costs.

Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon has called the plan the premier’s “vanity legacy project.”

Tourism Minister Melanie Mark said at a news conference last month the old building is not seismically sound and is at risk from floods, which could wipe out the record of B.C.’s culture and history.

Horgan said two of his ministers have worked very hard on the project and it wasn’t “a back-of-the-envelope undertaking.”

“It was a five-year process involving countless engagements with people, but not sufficient to give the public a sense of why this was important.”

©2022 The Canadian Press

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