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Plans for new Royal BC Museum on hold

The provincial government says it is halting its $798 million plan announced last month to rebuild the Royal BC Museum.

The government says the museum will remain open to visitors indefinitely. It was originally expected to close this fall ahead of a demolition and rebuild expected to take several years.

In a news release, the province said the museum will now lead a “broad public engagement to consider all options for the future of the museum.”

No timeline has been set for that process.

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

“I have heard the people of British Columbia quite clearly that we were making the wrong decision at the wrong time.

“It’s my responsibility to say to you that I made the wrong call. That’s not to say the work that needs to be done at the RBCM should be suspended indefinitely. It means I made a call when British Columbians were talking and thinking about other concerns.”

Horgan specifically cited primary care, education, and the cost of living. But he insisted that building a new museum is not an either/or proposition, and government felt it could address those other things while better protecting cultural items held by the museum.

Construction of a new collections and research building in Colwood will continue.

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