Loading articles...

Vancouver Aquarium suing city and park board over millions lost after cetacean ban

Last Updated May 17, 2019 at 8:47 pm PST

FILE: A young girl takes pictures of a beluga whale at the Vancouver Aquarium in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

Vancouver Aquarium is suing the city and park board over lost revenue because of the cetacean ban

The aquarium has previously challenged the park board's cetacean ban in court

Vancouver's ban on whales and dolphins went into effect in 2017

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver Aquarium is taking the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver to court again over a two-year-old cetacean ban, this time seeking damages for millions of dollars of lost revenue.

The aquarium claims attendance dropped about 13 per cent in 2017 and 2018, leading to $8 million in lost revenue over the last two years. It also claims to have lost a $7.5 million in private donations because of the ban.

The park board passed a bylaw in May 2017 banning cetaceans from being brought in and kept in city parks after two beluga whales died at the aquarium.

Ocean Wise Conservation Association, which runs the aquarium, is suing for damages for breaching a contract, interest, and costs, but it so far hasn’t demanded a specific amount.

Related stories:

Vancouver Park Board appeals court loss over animals in captivity at aquarium

Vancouver Park Board pleased, aquarium worried about proposed federal law banning cetaceans in captivity

Whales, dolphins will no longer be displayed at Vancouver Aquarium

This comes after the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled in February to support the Vancouver Park Board’s right to create that bylaw, although a judge initially agreed with the aquarium and declared the bylaw was void. The aquarium has appealed this decision.

Plans for an expensive project to expand pools for the cetaceans also play a part in the suit.

The aquarium says it began a three-phase, $100-million expansion largely focused on cetaceans in the early 2000s, and as a result, has been paying a higher licencing fee to the park board.

The City and Park Board have until early June to respond to the suit.

– With files from Lasia Kretzel