British Columbia

Vancouver Aquarium launches legal challenge of cetacean ban

Aquarium says park board does not have the statutory power to enact the ban

Pregnant Beluga Whale 20090129 TOPIX

Aurora the beluga whale, shown here in 2009, died shortly after the death of her daughter Qila last November at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

 shares

The Vancouver Aquarium has launched a legal challenge to overturn the Vancouver Park Board's recent ban on cetaceans.

In a statement issued Wednesday the aquarium said it has applied to the B.C. Supreme Court for a judicial review of the bylaw amendment banning dolphins and whales from the Stanley Park facility.

The aquarium is challenging several aspects of the ban, including the park board's statutory power to enact the ban with a bylaw amendment.

It also challenges the board's refusal to hear aquarium representatives concerning the amendment, the "vague" language of the amendment, its impact on the aquarium's $100 million expansion plan and its impact on the aquarium's marine mammal rescue program.

"The ramifications and impacts of the park board bylaw amendment are so far reaching that they fundamentally change the Vancouver Aquarium's ability to deliver its mission of conserving the world's oceans. As a result, we have no choice but to defend ourselves," said aquarium president John Nightingale in the statement.

Van Aqua CEO

Vancouver Aquarium CEO John Nightingale has followed through on his promise of legal action after the Vancouver Park Board voted to ban new cetaceans from the facility. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Both the park board and the City of Vancouver have been named as respondents, according to the statement. A spokesperson said the park board will provide comment at an appropriate moment.

The legal action is the latest development in the ongoing fight between the aquarium and the Vancouver Park Board

In 2014 the aquarium launched a similar legal action against a park board ban on cetaceans, but that legal action was dropped after the proposed ban was dropped by the new park board elected in the November 2014 civic election.

More On This Story

More from CBC News

Tell us what you think