Thursday, May 26, 2022

NDP Museum plans could be long running gift for Opposition

John Horgan's NDP government is feeling some significant heat when it comes their recently announced plans to create a Brand New Royal British Columbia Museum, a project which at an estimated cost of 800 million dollars is proving to be an enticing target for those of the opposition benches.

From those comments above from May 13th has come the Business case(of sorts), which was released yesterday by Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. 

The document has been received with mixed reviews, particularly when it comes to over 100 pages of redacted information that both BC Liberals as well as some of the Victoria press gallery note really don't offer much in the way of information on costing, which is the main focus it seems for most anyone outside of the Horgan cabinet.

The business case comes following last week's surprise announcement of the decision to not only build a new showcase for the provincial capital, but that the current museum would be closed for a significant period of the new build, estimated to be seven year period.

That closure looms fast, with the original notes of May 13th noting that the museum will close it doors on September  6th of this year. The estimated date for the doors to the new facility to reopen comes sometime in 2030.

Minister Melanie 
Mark is feeling the 
heat over the
BC Gov't plans
for the Royal 
BC Museum
The announcement last week, made for much of the focus for the opposition and somewhat of a gift for new Liberal leader Kevin Falcon's debut in the chamber, and while at times he was a little rusty in his legislature skills, the new leader did manage to score some significant political points on Mr. Horgan and Ms. Mark during the Question Period of last week's Legislature sessions.

And while the need for a new facility or extensive renovation for the existing structure is a long overdue proposal, the eye catching cost, disregard for potential cost over runs and delays to construction and complete shutdown of the facility has made for the main points of contention.  

Particularly as the opposition on what has now become a daily basis, recounts ways that the BC Government might better put to use 800 million dollars, an amount that they update notably to 1 billion for effect.

And while they could have chosen any number of areas to target for how that spending could help this region. whether that be in health, transportation or housing; they have put their focus on a long running promise that actually goes back to the party's own time in office that has yet to be delivered.

That of the still to be seen broken ground for the new Prince Rupert Middle School, a project currently languishing somewhere in a bureaucratic limbo it would seem.

As we noted earlier this month, the last update from the School District came at the May 5th School Board Budget meeting. With Secretary-Treasurer Cam McIntyre noting that the project is awaiting approval at the provincial government's Treasury Board level, though there is yet any indication as to what kind of a timeline anyone is working on towards the build.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice hasn't made note of either the Museum build or taken the bait on the PRMS situation so far through her social media feeds.

However, with an eight year timeline for the Museum project, that topic however will probably be dogging both the MLA and the NDP for the foreseeable future, complete with what could be a daily drip, drip, drip of the many ways that the Premier and his government could be spending money.

While local parents, students in elementary schools and educators probably are hoping that the PRMS build isn't on the same timeline.

More notes on the Legislature can be explored through our archive page here.

Some of the commentary and observations from the provincial media in Victoria on the theme can be reviewed through our political blog D'Arcy McGee.


  1. Jennifer Rice is too busy telling us about our long grass and gutters to talk about the Museum or Middle School.

    1. Thank you for sharing our concern on your blog. In response to your comment on how we chose to target the replacement of PRMS, we need to point out that on May 18 we also shared how the funds could also have been used to complete the Mile 28/Daumont Overpass that was funded in part and approved by our previous BC Liberal government and cancelled by the BCNDP.

      in 2017, our MLA complained about PRMS being on a toxic dump. Its been 5 years and her government is putting this museum project over the well-being of our local youth.

      Overall, the need to prioritize BC schools in need of seismic upgrade, including PRMS, over the museum replacement is an issue that we're highlighting.

      Thanks for your time.

      North Coast BC Liberal Riding Association

    2. Seismic school upgrades have been in the works since 2005, just saying.

      Since 1991, the Liberals have only held this riding for four years (2001-2005) and have averaged 32% of the vote over all the past elections. In 2020 election , the Liberal candidate captured 23% of the total riding vote, the lowest since 1991.

      Based on the last election, the Liberals appear to be going backwards in this riding. Hopefully the party can identify a candidate who can generate some momentum heading into the next election.

      27 years of the NDP has turned Prince Rupert into a dystopian socialist hellscape.