(Ben Yanis/Flickr photo)

Court rules park board lacked authority to ban whales, dolphins at Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium’s non-profit group had challenged a bylaw amendment that banned keeping cetaceans in parks

A B.C. court has ruled that Vancouver’s park board didn’t have the authority to ban whales, dolphins and porpoises at the city’s aquarium.

The decision follows Vancouver Aquarium’s announcement last month that it will end the practice of displaying cetaceans in captivity.

READ MORE: False killer whale’s death linked to bacterial infection

READ MORE: Investigation says toxin killed Vancouver aquarium’s beluga whales

The Ocean Wise Conservation Association, the non-profit society that runs the aquarium, filed an application for judicial review last year challenging a bylaw amendment passed by the park board which prohibited keeping cetaceans in parks.

The aquarium has a licensing agreement with the park board that allows it to operate within Stanley Park.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mayer says the agreement states the board will not interfere with the day-to-day administration of the aquarium, and as a result the bylaw amendment is unenforceable against the facility.

He stopped short of striking down the bylaw completely, saying such amendments would be enforceable in parks and facilities that don’t include the Marine Science Centre in Stanley Park.

The Canadian Press

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