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

Rivers, creeks flooding across the East Kootenay due to rainstorm

Residents evacuated in Fairmont, other properties on alert due to debris flow concerns

Southeast Kootenay school district set to reopen next week

Individual schools have creative timetables and schedules in order to adhere to public health orders

BC bats don’t spread COVID-19 says Kootenay Bat Project

Misinformation can lead to problems for bats, project says

Fernie SAR responds to two calls this weekend

The calls reported an injured mountain biker and an abandoned kayak

The Fernie Academy hosts virtual art show

The school’s annual Mother’s Day Art Show went online through The Arts Station

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Most Read