The federal and provincial governments announced today (August 9) they will provide up to $25 million for work to expand the popular marine centre.
The funding announcement comes three weeks after the Vancouver park board rejected a proposal to hold a non-binding public vote in 2011 on whether whales and dolphins should be held in captivity at the aquarium.
The group WhaleFriends has been calling for a plebiscite on the captivity issue.
“No amount of expansion of the aquarium’s facilities will change that fact that captivity is cruel and inhumane and that these sentient beings suffer greatly as a result of their confinement,” says a statement from WhaleFriends.
“An expanded aquarium will just be a larger marine prison in Stanley Park.”
In a news release, the Vancouver Aquarium says the upgrades will help it “enhance its exceptional animal care” and “provide enhanced expanded spaces and experiences” for visitors.
As part of the upgrades, a new holding and display pool will be built, providing more room for whales and dolphins, the aquarium says.
John Nightengale, Vancouver Aquarium president, has previously said most people in the city support having whales and dolphins at the facility.