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

Courtenay’s first privately-owned retail cannabis store now open

Courtenay’s first privately-owned retail cannabis outlet is open for business. La Pachi… Continue reading

Possibly stolen goods recovered by Comox Valley RCMP

Was your car broken into recently?

Herb Alpert tribute coming to Courtenay

One of the favourite Georgia Straight Jazz Society shows presented at Thursday… Continue reading

Check out a new future at career and education fair in Comox

Event today features booths from more than 40 employers and educational institutions

North Island College’s pop-up restaurant returns to The Park in Comox

North Island College tourism and hospitality students are joining forces with chef… Continue reading

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for the week of Jan. 21

Bouquets to and from the Adopt-a-Grandparent program; beef to people setting off fireworks

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read