EDITORIAL – The fiasco of the Royal B.C. Museum drags on without answers

‘Old Town’ exhibit. (Image: Royal BC Museum)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

FIRST, THE ROYAL B.C. MUSEUM in Victoria was going to be torn down in order to “decolonize” it. Then, it needed to be torn down to get rid of asbestos.

Then, there were seismic issues, with fears the building would be damaged by an earthquake. And, it had to be flood proofed, and collections moved to a new site in order to protect them during transition.

But the NDP government’s grand plan, totalling a billion dollars all in, and taking almost 10 years to complete, attracted massive public objection, and then-Premier John Horgan put it on hold.

But coming up a year since the proposal was unveiled, the promised consultation is barely underway and key parts of the museum remain shuttered.

The popular Old Town and HMS Discovery are off limits to you and me, available only to a few private groups that are allowed to see it on special tours.

It’s a preposterous situation, one the B.C. Liberals are again making political points with in the Legislature. Their leader, Kevin Falcon, demanded during Question Period last week to know why the third floor including Old Town and the Discovery haven’t been re-opened.

He further wanted to know about projected costs, predicting they would go up considerably.

Others chimed in but there was little in the way of answers except that consultations are underway. Nothing about any details of what a new plan might look like, nothing on costs.

The whole thing has been a constant shifting of vague reasoning right from the beginning, and the issue drags on.

Any gaps in the story of B.C.’s history can be corrected without tearing out favourite exhibits in the museum. Any problems with the building can be corrected in an orderly way without having to close it down or tear it down.

Get the consultations done, get a proper business plan finished and, in the meantime, unlock the doors to those key exhibits.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, alternate TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9489 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – The fiasco of the Royal B.C. Museum drags on without answers

  1. Better yet is for Falcon to come up with a cohesive, clear platform on how he intends to govern so that we can have a serious alternative to the present arrangement. I am so ready to see a cohesive and clear alternative.

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