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The Vancouver Aquarium has become one of the go-to conversations for residents of this city, along with bike lanes, affordability, the rain, and anything “craft.” The aquarium’s $120-million expansion did little to deter protestors and proponents of the ban on cetaceans in captivity, with media tension narrowing in on the parks board.
Last April, Green Coun. Adriane Carr’s motion of putting the cetacean question on tomorrow’s municipal ballot paper was unanimously rejected by other councillors. Both parkboard vice-chair Constance Barnes and Mayor Gregor Robertson have voiced support for a vote on the phasing-out of whales and dolphins held in Stanley Park’s tanks, yet to date no action has been taken against the Vancouver Aquarium.
Green Park Board candidate Michael Wiebe points to the bigger issue behind the decision to omit the cetacean question from tomorrow’s ballot, saying: “I think it’s very dangerous ground for councillors to remove power from the community. A referendum is extremely costly. Why not allow people their say tomorrow on any pressing issues and be done with it?”
A stance on whales and dolphins in captivity may indeed be a costly decision for the newly elected parks board, as CEO and President of the Vancouver Aquarium Dr. John Nightingale, has been quoted as saying the board will be held financially responsible for the approximately $50 million already invested in the aquarium’s expansion of whale and dolphin enclosures.