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Vancouver Aquarium challenges Park Board in court

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Vancouver Aquarium is bringing the Park Board to BC Supreme Court in the hopes of overturning a whale and dolphin breeding ban.

The controversial decision by the Park Board came after months of protests and public meetings.

“The Vancouver Aquarium objects to the resolutions on the legal grounds that this is purely a political issue, and resolutions serve no legitimate municipal purpose and go beyond the jurisdiction of the Park Board,” says Aquarium CEO Dr. John Nightingale.

The aquarium’s management feels it has a shot at overturning this ban because while the facility is within Stanley Park, there’s a question over whether the Park Board can intervene in its operations.

“That will be the question that’s before the Supreme Court,” Nightingale says. “Has the Park Board stepped over a line with these resolutions?”

The board has said breeding shouldn’t be allowed, unless the species is threatened.

Nightingale says the aquarium could continue to exist even with the ban, but its marine animal rescue and research programs would be severely hurt by the changes, and the ban on cetacean breeding is impractical and would put the Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre program at risk

“We’ve concluded that the resolutions put forth by the Park Board restrict the aquarium’s ability to fully continue its mission and mandate,” Nightingale says. “The resolutions raise significant concerns given the risks and impractical nature of the proposed changs.”

Nightingale notes the facility is Canada’s Pacific National Aquarium, as named by the federal government — and thus has “nationwide scope.”

The Aquarium also calls the ban “unwise” from an animal welfare standpoint.