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

Indigenous youth connect with their culture at Gathering Our Voices workshops

Secluded Wellness Centre in Port Alberni hosted traditional wildcraft sessions

Illegal cannabis club in Port Alberni ticketed again

RCMP seize cannabis, issue fine for second time in five months

Motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash west of Whiskey Creek

Witnesses say three vehicles involved in collision; man in 70s confirmed dead

Chef returns to North Island College to inspire young cooks

Tina Tang shares her culinary journey since graduating

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Port Alberni Fire Department engages Indigenous youth in fire awareness

Workshop took place as part of Gathering Our Voices event in Port Alberni

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Wildlife activists slam B.C. business, clubs for ‘wolf-whacking’ contests

Chilcotin Guns, Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club and West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club under fire

Most Read