Staff recommend park board vote on Vancouver Aquarium breeding ban in new year

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      Update (November 19): Vision backs off on captive breeding ban for Vancouver Aquarium

      The park board finally has the draft text of a bylaw amendment that would ban cetacean breeding at the Vancouver Aquarium. The seven-member body could put the matter to a vote when it convenes next on November 24.

      However, that is unlikely to happen.

      Published November 18 alongside the text of the amendment is a recommendation from staff that a vote on new rules for the aquarium wait until after the new year. By that time, the balance of power on the park board will have shifted from Vision Vancouver to the NPA.

      In a telephone interview, outgoing park board chair Aaron Jasper told the Straight that he didn’t know if the matter will be put to a vote on November 24.

      “Procedurally, a commissioner could move that we just go and approve the bylaws,” he explained. “This is a staff recommendation. The board has the authority to say, ‘Thank you very much, we agree with your recommendation’. Or, ‘No, we do not’.”

      But Jasper voiced personal reservations.

      “My advice, at this point, is we do not pass this bylaw,” he said. “My advice to the board is that this bylaw should be referred to public consultation and then dealt with by the next board.”

      The draft bylaw included in a November 17 city staff report is the result of vote held July 31. On that date, the outgoing Vision-majority park board, with two NPA commissioners absent, unanimously passed a motion that directed staff to draft an amendment to the Parks Control By-law that prohibits the breeding of whales, dolphins, and porpoises on property that falls within the jurisdiction of the park board.

      The November 17 report also includes a detailed terms of reference for the implementation of a “Vancouver Aquarium oversight committee”.

      Jasper said he stood by Vision’s efforts to phase out whale and dolphin captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium. However, he said that the November 15 election, in which Vision retained the mayor’s chair but lost the park board, changed things for him.

      “If the election results had been different, then I think it would have been less of an issue for us to pass this bylaw, if Vision was in a stronger position,” he said.

      The NPA has vowed to repeal any bylaw that prohibits captive breeding at the aquarium, though questions have been raised about whether or not it will have the votes to do that.

      Update (November 19): Vision backs off on captive breeding ban for Vancouver Aquarium

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      Nicholas Ellan

      Nov 18, 2014 at 12:48pm

      This is an important story. The bylaw is not yet passed. There is still an opportunity for the outgoing Vision commissioners to have a change of heart. Which might just be the politically expedient thing to do...

      Tommy Khang

      Nov 18, 2014 at 2:03pm

      Vision has already done enough damage to their own brand on the issue of Community Associations and Cetacean Captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium. These issues combined totally blew up in their face causing two of their most promising future candidates to not only lose but lose badly, regardless of my personal opinion of Vision Vancouver, Sharma and Loke were some of the brighter spots on their slate.

      Also doesn't the matter of the whole ongoing judicial review also play into the timing of this?

      Do the right thing

      Nov 18, 2014 at 2:33pm

      Enact the ban everyone thought was already enacted.


      Nov 18, 2014 at 4:05pm

      Let them pass the ban, but only on the condition that the Commissioners who vote in favour have to take shifts jumping into the pool and physically stopping the whales from fucking.


      Nov 18, 2014 at 5:36pm

      More broken promises from vision. They didnt learn a thing from the election.

      Hilary S.

      Nov 18, 2014 at 5:42pm

      After all that, they're going to wimp out now? How spineless of them. I want my vote back.

      Vision Voter

      Nov 18, 2014 at 5:50pm

      Appalling. The aquarium tells us they only have 5 belugas when they have 9. The NPA tells us they will repeal the bylaw when they dont have the numbers to do it. And Vision tells us that we have a bylaw banning breeding at the aquarium when we actually dont. So again the whales get no respect. There just being used for political games. Sickening.


      Nov 18, 2014 at 6:00pm

      The ban needs to happen! How can anyone morally support allowing captive breeding to continue when most of the offspring die???


      Nov 18, 2014 at 6:01pm

      The NPA will never pass this so why even bother? What a joke. Congrats on doing a big fat nothing and wasting more taxpayer dollars.

      Daniel Tanner

      Nov 18, 2014 at 6:12pm

      I'd like to know why did it take so long to draft this bylaw? It can't be that complicated, they voted on it in the summer. Smells like opportunism, use whales as pawns and the voters as the dupes.