Vancouver Aquarium responds to Park Board's notice of appeal

Mar 7 2018, 6:21 pm

After the Vancouver Park Board said last week it’s appealing a recent BC Supreme Court (BCSC) decision that ruled a VPB bylaw which bans cetaceans from being kept in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium, the Aquarium said this week it is “disappointed” with the Park Board’s “unwillingness to accept… the decision in the BC Supreme Court.”

The initial ban was ruled to be unenforceable, due to pre-existing contract obligations between the Aquarium and the Park Board.

As part of the appeal last week, VPB Chair Stuart Mackinnon  said the BCSC ruling “poses a real and substantial challenge to the legal power and authority of our elected board. Our board has decided we must appeal this decision.”

In a statement, the Aquarium said the judge found that “the management of the not-for-profit Marine Science Centre is the responsibility of the Vancouver Aquarium in accordance with its long-term licence agreement, and prohibited the Park Board from applying its May 2017 bylaw amendment to the Aquarium’s operations in Stanley Park.”

This 20-year licence agreement it said, “has been foundational to the Aquarium’s long-term planning and conservation initiatives, including its initiative to develop an expanded Canada’s Arctic exhibit.”

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The Park Board and the city’s “insistence on pursuing this matter has already incurred substantial legal expense to both the Vancouver Aquarium and the citizens of Vancouver,” the statement said.

“The Park Board’s actions also ignore overwhelming public support for the Aquarium, including the more than 13,000 public letters sent to the Park Board opposing the May 2017 bylaw,” it added.

Now, the Aquarium said this most recent appeal by the park board “will require additional litigation funds… resulting in continued distraction to the Aquarium’s operations and impact to its conservation priorities.”

Moreover, it noted, the Park Board’s appeal will have ongoing implications for Vancouver taxpayers.

The Aquarium said it has “instructed its legal counsel to file a notice of appearance responding to the Park Board’s appeal.”

As the matter is now before the courts, it said, no further comments will be provided at this time.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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