Province to reveal business case for new Royal B.C. Museum

The British Columbia government says it will release its business case for a new Royal B.C. Museum next week in response to concerns about the province's $789-million plan.

The province revealed its plan to tear down and rebuild the museum at its current location next to the B.C. legislature last Friday.

The announcement touched off criticism that the nearly $800 million could be better spent elsewhere, including to help tackle housing affordability and the shortage of family doctors in B.C.

The province has not revealed any preliminary designs or accounting plans for the project.

Tourism Minister Melanie Mark said in a statement Thursday the province will release its business case for the museum redevelopment on May 25.

In a news conference Thursday, Premier John Horgan said the museum announcement "was not characterized appropriately" and that caused "hard feelings," including among people who have called his constituency office.

The premier said the release of the business plan "is not traditional in these circumstances, but the case is so compelling, I think British Columbians deserve to have a look at it before we get into the procurement process."

The current museum, which is seismically unsound and contains asbestos, will close its doors in September to allow for the construction of the new building to begin. 

The museum will offer travelling exhibitions and satellite displays around the province before the new museum is expected to open in 2030.