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Our readers say: New $789-million museum is not a priority

Premier John Horgan’s announcement that his government will spend $789 million to replace the Royal B.C. Museum after a seven-year demolition and replacement program drew a strong response from our readers.
The lobby of the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Premier John Horgan’s announcement that his government will spend $789 million to replace the Royal B.C. Museum after a seven-year demolition and replacement program drew a strong response from our readers. Here is a sample:

Has Premier John Horgan lost his marbles? He has certainly lost my vote.

A billion for a museum today will explode to a billion and-a-half eight years from now. How about spending a billion on low-cost housing, which the private sector cannot profitably do?

Or a few hundred million on finding doctors and nurses? If he is worried about an earthquake, tear down the legislature building, far more vulnerable than the museum.

Build decent facilities to house those who make a career out of crime and are set free to terrorize law-abiding citizens in our streets and homes.

To celebrate our history, turn the museum over to First Nations and send the other exhibits over to a facility alongside the maritime museum.

Restore the monuments of those who, in their ‘flawed’ wisdom, worked tirelessly (and now thanklessly) to save us, Indigenous and immigrant, from conquest by the United States. After all, there is more than one historical drama in Canada.

Horgan and his cabinet are living in Lala Land or, just as likely, in a subterranean bunker cut off from the real world. How, then, can they govern us?

George Fraser

You have got to be kidding. This must be some sort of April Fool’s joke. $789 million to be spent on a new museum! This would bring in more jobs, more income to the city?

The construction crews cannot keep up with the jobs that they have now. Oh that’s right – it’s going to take eight years to complete!

If the province has so much money, why is it not being put towards things that really matter like doctors, nurses, teachers, lower cost housing, the elderly! That is just to name a few things.

Having been born here and lived here my life, I cannot believe how this city has deteriorated. I watch in total disgust the way this beautiful city of Victoria has become such a seed of corruption.

Is there truly that much money to throw at things that are not really necessary or is this just another way to have the opposition come to power in the next election and have such overwhelming debt that they cannot begin to see the light?

Lynne Hopkins

$789 million of our B.C. taxpayers dollars will be used to replace the Royal B.C. Museum.

Not to hire more doctors. Not to build more houses. Not to offset the rising costs of fuel, food and other necessities. $789 million of our B.C. taxpayers dollars to build a “want”, not a “need”.

Are the B.C. NDP really that out of touch? They got my vote in the last two elections, but I won’t be making that mistake again.

Patrick Ferguson

The provincial government plans to replace the Royal B.C. Museum at a cost of $1 billion in the next eight years.

I am incensed at the idea with our doctor crisis in B.C. that the government would put this project as a priority.

I have not had a doctor for five years and thank God I am a healthy-ish 64-year-old.

I am concerned for my future and that of my family member who need a knee replacement. If the government does not make this health care crisis a priority over a new building, where will we be in one, two or five years when all the oversize and multi-storey condos are finished and all those people will be looking for health care.

The doctors shortage is because the government refuses to pay the doctors a living wage.

Who else in their career has not had an increase in wages but still have to pay staff, rent, utilities at an ever-increasing amount without getting a raise themselves.

It is no wonder so many are quitting and going elsewhere.

The government should use our tax dollars to pay the doctors before building another museum.

Cathy Bhandar

I was wondering how the Royal B.C. Museum was going to manage removing the "sacred totem pole" from our museum. Then I read in Saturday’s Times Colonist that an easy solution had been reached: Tear the museum down and build a new one for only $789 million!

I am being completely facetious as well as angry!

How long are we as taxpayers going to bend over backwards, jump when we are told to jump all in the name of reconciliation, decolonization and cancel culture?

We taxpayers need to know how much money has been spent in trying to meet the demands of the First Nations since the NDP have taken power.

We have a health care crisis. It would be wiser for the NDP government to provide the funding prioritizing the need rather than the want.

Wendy Campbell

I am all for building a new museum. The Royal B.C. museum was free when I was a child and became my refuge when I skipped school. The Old Town was my favourite part and I watched those silent movies for hours.

Now that I’m older I just have one question: Will the billion plus dollars being spent cover the cost of putting just one family doctor’s office somewhere in the basement maybe?

Hopefully there is room in the budget.

C. Scott Stofer

I read the headline announcing the $789 million plan to remove and replace the Royal B.C. Museum in a state of stunned disbelief.

The museum’s problems have been discussed openly for months, but this apparently well-intentioned initiative is grotesquely ill timed, given the severe shortage of family doctors and crushing pressures on hospitals in the province.

Major initiatives to provide modern levels of preventive and emergency care to hundreds of thousands of citizens ought to be an overriding priority.

If B.C. is to succeed in creating truth and justice in the account of its history, as well as inspire visitors to come to Victoria, we must first do all we can to restore and protect a healthy and confident population.

Louis Ranger
Oak Bay

Premier John Horgan has just lost it as far as I’m concerned. Another example of the NDP’s lack of money/fiscal responsibility.

The Royal B.C. Museum has many good years of life remaining. Any asbestos, if any, in the building has long been covered up and poses no health concerns to the visiting public or staff.

That money would be better spent on affordable housing for families, treatment and housing for our drug-addicted street people and more crime prevention for our downtown. It would be nice if we could create some job opportunities, too.

R.C. Darnell

The plan to spend $800 million – which will come in at $1 billion – for a new museum would use funds that could be better used on health care.

We don’t have enough doctors or nurses and they are over-worked and underpaid.

We have seen this for ourselves. Patients requiring surgery are waiting up to 18 months or more. We have paid taxes all our working careers and our health-care system is crashing.

Our provincial government needs to get its priorities on the right path and spend tax money on our health-care system.

We have tourists coming back on the Coho and on cruise ships. Our museum and Imax are the first thing visitors see when they come into the harbour so please leave it like it is and put the money into health care.

Bev Andrews

What an unbelievable, untimely, profligate decision by our government to replace the Royal B.C. Museum. One billion dollars could be much, much better spent.

Premier John Horgan, who is a long-time resident of the capital region, should be precisely aware of the needs of this region: health care, homelessness, affordable housing, to name just a few.

Our acclaimed provincial museum is well-cited and quite possibly serviceable for another decade. Just leave it alone. A large majority of B.C. residents – and an overwhelming consensus of tourists – marvel at the present experience. As well, closing it for seven years is just, very sad for our citizens and tourists alike.

With the world in disarray, with what is going on in the Ukraine, the stock market falling, interest rates rising and recession just around the corner, the government’s decision seems ill-considered and ill-timed.

Horgan is far off the mark with this unneeded and unwanted initiative. As well, Horgan’s transparent attempt to pander to a small portion of the our population and, no doubt in the process, to attempt to rewrite British Columbia history and heritage, will quickly and lastingly be a loss to all British Columbians.

Dick Rennie

I was surprised, to say the least, when I read that the Royal British Columbia Museum was to be replaced with a new facility by 2030.

First of all, I wonder why the controversial sections or displays can’t be redesigned to make them more inclusive? After all, the British Museum is not set to be torn down, nor is the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

And knowing how these cost “estimates” work, this project is likely to approach the billion dollar mark when it nears completion.

I wonder too about the timing of this announcement. Is it also serving as a distraction when more effort – and money – should be directed to solving the more serious concern in our province, namely the shortage of family doctors that almost one million citizens presently lack?

Maybe I’m overly suspicious but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a government has deflected attention away from more pressing matters.

Jo Ross

The new provincial museum as announced is a big mistake. It follows the theme of building a new facility based upon a single culture.

Our DNA is not a single culture. Our DNA is maritime. Thousands of vessels have plied the coast, and exported products around the world.

Hundreds of stories can be told about shipwrecks up and down the coast. Thousands of people of all kinds of cultures have worked in the maritime industry. We were home port to one of the fastest clippers in the world. Victoria was home port to the sealing industry.

There are hundreds of stories to be told about the people associated with our maritime past.

And yet, $789 million is about to be spent on a new museum, without any mention of our DNA!

This is just the wrong approach. Other countries have recognized the value of their maritime past. Excellent maritime museums can be found in Halifax with the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic as well as the Greenwich Maritime Museum and museums in Sydney, Australia, San Diego, and Liverpool.

Before this project goes too far, recognition must be given to our maritime past, either through taking funds from this once in a lifetime disbursement to be part of the new complex, or to set up a maritime museum in a separate building.

This opens an opportunity to build a world class maritime museum which this area so rightfully deserves.

Rodger Darbey

People, please consider the time we live in. Rising costs in food, gas, rent, housing – and our government wants to built a billion-dollar museum.

Homeless need places to live. Others cannot afford to live or even buy clothes much less food for their tables. There is a war with refugees coming here who need support in all respects.

One billion to build a museum that does not need renovation from the outset.

We need at least 10 more Site C Dams to support our infrastructure in the need for electricity for electric cars and heat for homes with heat pumps – and we need to pay grants to people for their electric cars.

Call me, Premier John Horgan, for common sense advice.

Bruce Wik

This summer I went to the museum in Victoria with my grandchildren, we mostly went to see the Orca display, and spent the whole afternoon there viewing everything it has to offer.

I had never been there before and was quite impressed, and what I was more impressed with was a 15-year-old and 11-year-old getting completely immersed with the museum and displays.

Fast forward and this facility is now being destroyed for a new one to the tune of close to a billion dollars. Reasons are the museum may not withstand an earthquake and there are concerns about flooding?

If that museum floods in that location I think Victoria has a lot more to worry about than losing a few artifacts.

Folks, I think we are being led down the garden path again to the tune of a billion dollars.

Sheldon Reves

I wanted to express my thoughts on the government announcement of spending $789 million to replace Royal B.C. Museum. Sadly my words would not be printable.

Shame on this government while we have towns needing rebuilding from fires 10 months ago, municipalities waiting for help after floods last fall, a two-hour wait for an ambulance in Quesnel the other night, food banks unable to take on new clients as they cannot provide more, trucks , cars, campers and tents becoming more common as living accommodation.

Families are leaving the province faster than I have witnessed before, to be able to afford to raise their families. So disappointed in the NDP government

Jennifer Waters
Maple Ridge


• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd.,

Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity.

• Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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