Rob Shaw: Nearly seven out of 10 British Columbians oppose $789M Royal BC Museum rebuild plan

Rob Shaw: Nearly seven out of 10 British Columbians oppose $789M Royal BC Museum rebuild plan
CHEK

A newly released poll suggests just how few people support the B.C. government’s plans to rebuild the Royal BC Museum.

An Angus Reid Institute poll found that the majority of British Columbians — 69 per cent — oppose the $789-million project while just one in five people (22%) support it. Of the 69 per cent who said they oppose the plan, 42 per cent said they “strongly” opposed it.

When it comes to the five options the government looked at for the aging museum, 62 per cent of respondents said they would have stuck to the status quo and not rebuilt the facility at all, while 18 per cent said they would go with the government’s plan to tear down the current building and rebuild a new museum on the same site.

The poll follows another study Angus Reid released earlier this week showing Premier John Horgan’s approval rating slip to a two-year low, as the government deals with health care crises, soaring inflation and the museum replacement controversy.

Horgan’s rating dropped to 48 per cent — down from 55 per cent a month earlier and way down from the 71 per cent approval rating he carried in June 2020, months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thursday’s poll also suggests that British Columbians rate the government’s performance low when it comes to top-of-mind issues, with seven out of 10 people saying the government is “performing poorly” on cost of living, health care and housing affordability.

Eighty-seven per cent of respondents said the NDP is doing a poor job on housing affordability, which Angus Reid called the highest dissatisfaction mark in the country.

However, the poll shows that despite the museum plan’s strong disapproval from the public, the BC NDP still holds an 11-point lead in support over the BC Liberals — 42 per cent to 31 per cent — while the Green Party has 15 per cent support from voters.

When it comes to newly crowned Liberal leader Kevin Falcon, 23 per cent of respondents said they viewed him “favourably” while 44 per cent viewed him “unfavourably,” with 32 per cent saying they’re still not sure.

The poll was conducted in an online survey from June 7-13 among 615 B.C. adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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