NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe has issued a statement voicing strong support for the Vancouver Aquarium.
“The Aquarium is not capturing the cetaceans. It is saving them,” he wrote in a blog post dated July 31.
LaPointe’s message is also highly critical of Vision Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, who in April 2014 said he believes that the aquarium should no longer keep whales and dolphins at its facility in Stanley Park.
LaPointe wrote that he “deplored” Robertson’s decision to take that position.
“His views have triggered a disruptive process that is costing the city’s taxpayers untold amounts of money in public hearings and consulting fees,” LaPointe said. “The process is interfering with the Aquarium’s ongoing research and expansion plans that would allow it to continue its important scientific work.”
It continues: “It is time for the expense, disruption and uncertainty to stop and for the mayor to stand down from his efforts to change policy around keeping cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium.”
LaPointe went on to express concern for the economic implications of the aquarium ceasing to keep whales and dolphins on display.
Robertson’s April 9 statement focused on the issue of cetacean captivity.
“My personal view is that the Vancouver Aquarium should begin to phase out the holding of whales and dolphins in captivity,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the Aquarium and the Park Board can work collaboratively and come to an agreement on how to achieve this with a dialogue and review that will be informed, thoughtful, and inclusive.”
Yesterday (July 30) the Straight reported that four former Vancouver mayors—Sam Sullivan, Larry Campbell, Philip Owen, and Mike Harcourt—had sent letters to the park board expressing their support for the aquarium's whale and dolphin programs to continue in their current forms.
This evening (July 31), the park board is scheduled to convene its third meeting in less than a week on the issue of cetacean captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium. More than 130 members of the public attended the first two meetings and spoke on the topic.