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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘It’s still early’: Flu rates down so far this year at Interior Health

At Kelowna General Hosptial, there have been about 50 confirmed cases

Warriors introduce new leadership core, look for bounce back after Friday loss

West Kelowna’s three-game winning streak ended Friday with a 6-3 loss

One-woman comedy show coming to Kelowna next week

Cree actress Michelle Thrush will be performing at Rotary Centre on Jan. 24 and 25

Undermanned Rockets come close in 1st game of road-trip with 3-2 loss to Silvertips

Kelowna continues the three-game stretch Saturday night in Portland

UBCO partners with Boeing to test new anti-ice coating technology

The coating could one day be applied to all airplanes to prevent ice buildup

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

B.C. town spends $14.14 per resident for snow removal in one month

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Photo reminds Salmon Arm resident of connection to former drama teacher Justin Trudeau

Prime minister remembered as being as a funny, larger-than-life person

Province says it is monitoring AIM’s road maintenance

The provincial transportation ministry is working closely with new road contractor AIM,… Continue reading

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Most Read