New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

The Vancouver Park Board will have another chance to argue it has the authority to ban cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium.

The B.C. Court of Appeal allowed the park board’s appeal Tuesday, reversing a lower court decision that said the board had no right to implement a bylaw that bans whales, dolphins and porpoises at the aquarium. The matter will be put back to the Supreme Court for a new trial.

READ MORE: Court rules park board lacked authority to ban whales, dolphins at Vancouver Aquarium

The contentious battle over cetaceans in captivity between the park board and the aquarium’s operator, the Ocean Wise Conservation Association, started back in May 2017.

The park board had amended a bylaw to ban the animals from captivity, after two of the aquarium’s belugas, Qila and Aurora, had died suddenly the year before.

The aquarium applied for judicial review of the amendment, saying the park board had no authority to do so.

In February 2018, a B.C. Supreme Court judge agreed, citing a 1999 contract between the two sides that says the board will not interfere with the day-to-day administration of the aquarium.

The park board appealed on the basis that the court’s decision poses “a real and substantial challenge” to its legal power and authority.

This was despite the aquarium recently announcing it would no longer display cetaceans in captivity ahead of its $100-million expansion in Stanley Park.

On Tuesday, Justice David Tysoe said the park board does not have to “fetter,” or restrain, its bylaw-making power, regardless of the decades-old agreement.

The aquarium, which has kept cetaceans since 1964, has one mammal remaining in its care: a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen, who is in her mid-30s and was rescued when she got tangled up in a fishing net in Japan.

READ MORE: Vancouver Aquarium to no longer house whales, dolphins


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Tri-Port Midget Wild finish season with gold medal performance

The other teams were no match for the Tri-Port girls.

Chief Administrative Officer officially appointed in Port McNeill

“Pete brings with him 17 years of municipal experience.”

Port Hardy RCMP’s 2018 fourth quarter crime stats are in

Port Hardy RCMP Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen spoke to Port Hardy council March 12.

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Deadline extended through April to nominate top B.C. educators

Second year of Premier John Horgan’s awards offers $3,000 bursary

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Island SPCA overwhelmed by 45 cats taken from Comox Valley property

Many of the cats will be transferred to branches in Nanaimo and Victoria

Most Read