Most British Columbians oppose $789M museum upgrade, poll shows
Only 1 in 5 respondents said they were in support of the museum upgrade
A new poll by the Angus Reid Institute has found that 69 per cent of British Columbians oppose the $789-million plan to rebuild the Royal B.C. Museum, and while support for the B.C. NDP government appears to be waning, the party continues to hold a strong lead over the opposition B.C. Liberals.
The museum upgrade, announced in May, includes plans to demolish and rebuild the museum in Victoria over the course of nearly a decade.
Critics hammered the government on the high price for the upgrade, pointing out that B.C. is dealing with a family doctor shortage, skyrocketing gas prices and an affordability crisis.
The poll has found that 27 per cent of respondents are "opposed" to the plan and 42 per cent are "strongly opposed." Only 22 per cent indicated they were in support of the project.
"It's pretty striking in terms of consensus," said Angus Reid president Schachi Kurl. "There's a great deal of opposition to this particular project."
The poll also shows that a majority of respondents feel the government has done a poor job of handling issues of housing affordability, cost of living, homelessness and the toxic drug crisis.
Housing, cost of living bigger concerns
Following criticism over plans to rebuild the museum, the province released more than 2,300 partially redacted pages of reports and appendices supporting the contentious project, and to explain why a complete rebuild is necessary.
But Kurl said that hasn't managed to persuade British Columbians, who largely don't see the project as a priority and question why the government does.
Kurl said data from the institute shows that people in the province are concerned about the cost of living, inflation, health care and housing affordability.
"A lot of people are pushing back and questioning at a time when those moneys could be spent on things that are more important, why are they being spent on the museum?" Kurl said on the CBC's On the Island.
The poll also shows more than half of respondents feel the government is doing a "poor" or "very poor" job on issues of the environment and climate change, and the economy and jobs.
B.C. Liberals still trail NDP government
Despite the criticisms, 42 per cent of respondents said they would vote for the B.C. NDP if an election were held, while 31 per cent said they would vote for the B.C. Liberals.
That is, however, the lowest percentage for the NDP since February 2020, and an eight percentage-point drop from June last year.
Premier John Horgan is still relatively popular, according to the poll, with 48 per cent of respondents viewing him favourably, compared to 23 per cent who feel the same way about new B.C. Liberal Party leader Kevin Falcon.
Falcon, who won the leadership race for his party earlier this year, has promised to renew and rebuild the party in a "root-to-branch'' process that includes a process that could see the Liberals change their name in an attempt to connect with a wider coalition of voters.
The survey was conducted online from June 7 to 13, among a randomized sample of 615 B.C. adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes, the margin of error is plus or minus four per cent, 19 times out of 20.
With files from On the Island and B.C. Today