Planning for Royal BC Museum upgrade and funding for 2 new student housing buildings at UVic included in B.C.’s 2019 budget


Funding for Vancouver Island projects were listed in the BC NDP government’s 2019 budget on Tuesday, with many of them already having been announced.

One of the new announcements, included in last week’s throne speech, is a capital project for modernizing and renewing the Royal BC Museum.

A dollar figure for that project was not included in the budget but there is $1.6 billion in capital spending to support investments in maintaining, upgrading and expanding infrastructure, such as courthouses, correctional centres, office buildings and information systems.

“They’re going to begin with the planning so that’s the stage they are at now,” Finance Minister Carole James said about the museum.

“They’re going to receive funding to support through them the planning stage. That could be a good year, perhaps longer by the time they take a look at the archives, by the time they take a look at the existing site, at other sites, so that kind of work is going on.”

James said after the government receives an update on possible plans, they will work with the museum to look at what funding is available and what kind of upgrade can be supported.

Two new student housing buildings at the University of Victoria are part of the $3.3 billion in total capital spending over the next three years by post-secondary institutions across the province. The buildings will cost a total of $201 million and will include 620 new beds, a dining facility and a multipurpose program space. This is set to be finished in 2024.

A new $64 million health sciences centre is also being built at Camosun College to house 18 health science programs, including community mental health, nursing, and university-transfer health programs at the Interurban campus. This is set to be finished this year.

A total of $18 million is going toward the renewal and expansion of the Campbell River campus of the North Island College that will allow the trade programs to be consolidated on one campus.

There is also $6 million allocated for equipment at the Northern Cascadia Subduction Zone Observatory. The equipment will provide information on seismic and tsunami risks in B.C. that can be used for emergency management. The project is being led by UVic.

Approximately $27 billion is going toward maintaining, replacing, renovating or expanding K-12 facilities in the province. Royal Bay Secondary in the Sooke School District is included in that list and will receive an expansion to accommodate an additional 600 students with 21 classrooms and a small gym. The additional spaces are expected to be ready by fall 2020.

Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum.

Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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