Vancouver Aquarium (Wikimedia Commons)

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium has agreed to drop its lawsuit against the city over the contentious ban on cetaceans in captivity, as part of its new 35-year lease.

The agreement, which replaces the current lease that’s set to expire in 2029, sets out that the Vancouver Aquarium will no longer display whales and dolphins, according to parent company Ocean Wise.

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

“We appreciate the park board’s cooperation and are thrilled that the Vancouver Aquarium is staying in Stanley Park, which has been its home since 1956,” CEO Lasse Gustavsson said in a news release Tuesday.

Last May, Ocean Wise announced it was suing the city, claiming it lost millions of dollars in revenue specifically through the design of and consultation on a new exhibit that relied on five belugas being brought in. That lawsuit will be discontinued.

The Vancouver debate on whether to ban cetaceans from the aquarium began in earnest in 2017, after beluga whales Qila and Aurora died a few months apart in 2016.

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

The Vancouver Park Board amended a bylaw that would ban the marine life from being held in captivity.

Two harbour porpoises and a false killer whale have also died at the aquarium since then, leaving a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen as the last remaining cetacean in its care.

Shortly after the bylaw was changed, the aquarium applied for judicial review of the amendment, arguing that 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.

READ MORE: New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver 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, although the aquarium had announced it would no longer display cetaceans in captivity ahead of its $100-million expansion in Stanley Park. The new trial, which will be put back to the Supreme Court, has not yet begun.

Black Press Media has reached out to the park board for clarification.


@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

Video: Monster Truck Chaos takes over Prospera Place in Kelowna

Performing at the shows were Rockstar, Identity Theft, California Kid, Spitfire and Skeletor

Unplug and Play Literacy Week returns in late January

The event sponsored by Interior Savings encourages everyone young and old to unplug from screentime

Kelowna’s Tess Critchlow gears up for World Cup at Big White

Critchlow is a professional snowboarder competing for Team Canada in the boardercross competition

Rockets stunned in 7-0 loss to Portland

Portland’s goaltender Dante Gianuzzi was named the game’s first star with a 17-save shutout

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read