Park Board has authority to ban cetaceans at Vancouver Aquarium, court rules

Feb 19 2019, 9:19 pm

After a bylaw from the Vancouver Park Board that banned cetaceans from being kept in captivity was ruled unenforceable by the BC Supreme Court last year, the BC Court of Appeal has ruled that amendments to that bylaw which prohibits the importation and display of cetaceans in city parks applies to the Vancouver Aquarium.

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“The Park Board is pleased by today’s decision,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “The amendment to our bylaw is thoughtful and reflective of public opinon. The court’s decision upholds our legislative powers to regulate activities and operations within our parks.”

Today’s ruling overturns a BC Supreme Court decision last year that the Park Board’s May 2017 amendment to its bylaw restricting cetaceans in Vancouver parks could not be applied to the Aquarium due to prior agreements with the Board.

The Park Board, along with applicable provincial and federal laws pertaining to cetaceans, permits and regulates Aquarium activities in Stanley Park.

The Park Board has a long-term lease with the 60-year-old Vancouver Aquarium to operate within Stanley Park. The Aquarium has operated in the park since 1956. The current lease runs to 2029.

Stanley Park is owned by the Government of Canada and leased in perpetuity to the city as a park. City council has designated Stanley Park as a permanent public park under the Vancouver Charter. The Park Board has exclusive jurisdiction and control over Stanley Park.