Vancouver park board lacked authority to ban whales, dolphins at aquarium: court

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Chester. Photo Vancouver Aquarium

A British Columbia court has ruled that Vancouver’s park board didn’t have the authority to ban whales, dolphins and porpoises at the city’s aquarium.

The decision follows Vancouver Aquarium’s announcement last month that it will end the practice of displaying cetaceans in captivity.

The Ocean Wise Conservation Association, the non-profit society that runs the aquarium, filed an application for judicial review last year challenging a bylaw amendment passed by the park board which prohibited keeping cetaceans in parks.

The aquarium has a licensing agreement with the park board that allows it to operate within Stanley Park.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mayer says the agreement states the board will not interfere with the day-to-day administration of the aquarium, and as a result the bylaw amendment is unenforceable against the facility.

He stopped short of striking down the bylaw completely, saying such amendments would be enforceable in parks and facilities that don’t include the Marine Science Centre in Stanley Park.