The provincial government will be presenting their business case for the nearly $800 million planned upgrade of the Royal B.C. Museum next Tueday, (May 24).
Criticism of the project was immediate after the NDP announced it last week. Both the opposition B.C. Liberals and the Greens have used the project to bludgeon the NDP during question period. They have called on the government to provide details on how and why the project will cost so much while musing about other priorities the money could be spent on.
In response, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport issued a news release, saying that the government will provide a technical briefing led by senior government officials to provide a detailed overview of the business case. They also committed to releasing the business case publicly.
The government said that the as-yet-unreleased business case was informed by work going back to 2006, including assessments done in 2014 and 2015 that showed the museum was in need of “major seismic and structural improvements”.
In 2018, the government received a concept plan outlining project need, alternatives and preliminary recommendations, including 2018 detailed building assessments produced by Partnerships B.C., now Infrastructure B.C., and required under government’s capital asset management framework. That concept plan was approved two months later.
Then in October 2019, the government and the Royal B.C. Museum released What We Heard, a report on input collected from engagement with public and Indigenous communities throughout the province.
Based on that work, the province received “an initial business case” to upgrade the museum, including plans for a new collections and research building in Colwood. The “final business case” was provided to the government in Dec. 2021 and approved in March 2022.