A new branch of the Royal BC Museum, creating more than 900 jobs, is set to rise in Colwood.
The new building will house the museum’s archives and be used as a research centre, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare announced Friday.
The state of the art facility will help “preserve our history for future generations,” she said, adding that the facility would be accessible and energy efficient. The government expects to break ground this winter with the project completed in the summer of 2024.
Beare said she was shocked to see the priceless collection of Emily Carr paintings and writing being stored in the basement of the museum, with a pump running 24 hours a day to keep the collection dry. The RBCM no longer has the capacity to store its seven million artifacts, she said.
The 3.2 hectare or eight-acre parcel of land, purchased for $14 million and located at the Royal Bay development in Colwood, will include a 14,000 square-metre facility that meets CleanBC energy-efficient standards. Using mass timber construction, 950 jobs will be generated – with 644 construction jobs and 320 indirect jobs.
The new building will house the Royal BC Museum’s archives, collections – including birds and mammals, botany, fish, entomology, history, paleontology and modern history collections – and research department, with additional research labs and dedicated learning spaces.
In October crews will begin preparing the site for construction, including surveying and earthworks. A competitive procurement process will be announced by the government in the coming months to select a design-build team to lead the development. Funding details are expected to be released when a contract has been secured.
This is the first phase in the Royal BC Museum modernization project. The main museum and the public galleries will remain at the downtown site, with plans to redevelop the museum space expected to be announced next year.