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Park Board appeals BC Supreme Court decision on bylaw amendment regarding cetaceans in parks

March 2 2018

“We believe that the BC Supreme Court ruling of February 9th poses a real and substantial challenge to the legal power and authority of our elected Board,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

Vancouver Park Board office in the fall

The Vancouver Park Board has filed an appeal of a BC Supreme Court (BCSC) ruling of February 9, 2018, in which the Court determined that a bylaw restricting cetaceans in city parks is inapplicable to the Vancouver Aquarium's operations in Stanley Park.
 
The BCSC ruling by Justice Mayer was in response to the Aquarium’s application for judicial review of amendments to the Parks Control bylaw, passed by the Board in May 2017, restricting the importation and keeping of cetaceans in Vancouver parks.

Park Board authority

The Court held that the contract between the Board and the Aquarium restricted the Board’s authority to pass a bylaw that applied to the Aquarium’s operations in Stanley Park. This holding could have far-ranging impacts on the Park Board’s legislative powers, which are granted to it under the Vancouver Charter.
 
“We believe that the BC Supreme Court ruling of February 9th poses a real and substantial challenge to the legal power and authority of our elected Board,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Our Board has decided we must appeal this decision.”

Appeal filed March 2

As outlined in a notice of appeal filed March 2, 2018 , the Board will ask the B.C. Court of Appeal to overturn the order of the BC Supreme Court and affirm that the by-law restricting cetaceans in Vancouver parks applies to the Aquarium.
 
The Park Board continues to support the care of the only cetacean remaining at Vancouver Aquarium, a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen.
 
The  Board also continues to support the excellent work by Vancouver Aquarium staff and volunteers in the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre run at a facility outside of Stanley Park.
 
The Park Board, along with applicable provincial and federal laws pertaining to cetaceans, permits and regulates Aquarium activities in Stanley Park. The Board has a long-term agreement with the 60-year-old Vancouver Aquarium to operate within Stanley Park. The current licence runs to 2029.
 
Stanley Park is owned by the Government of Canada and leased 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.