Whale referendum motion voted down by Vancouver City Council

Belugas swim at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre in 2002.

Vancouver City Council has voted overwhelmingly against the motion to hold a plebiscite on the future of captive cetaceans at the Vancouver aquarium.

Green party Councillor Adriane Carr proposed a motion to include a question on the issue on the November’s municipal election ballot.

Carr has previously said the question would only be added to the ballot if the Vancouver Park Board and the Vancouver Aquarium don’t reach an agreement before the November election to phase out keeping whales and dolphins in captivity.

Today, the motion was voted down 9:1.

Carr says the council felt her motion was overstepping their authority and comes at a time when the Vancouver Park Board itself is investigating the issue.

Two Vancouver Park Board commissioners have joined the debate earlier this month, saying they believe it is time the aquarium got rid of its whale and dolphin enclosures.

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On Monday, dozens of animal rights activists gathered outside a Vancouver Park Board meeting to demand a public referendum on whales held in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Carr says she is concerned with the timeline of Vancouver aquarium’s planned expansion and ensuring Vancouverites have a voice on the issue through a plebiscite.

“Our backs are against the wall in terms of timing. We need to get something going before the aquarium puts the shovels in the ground and expands the whale pool.”

She says today’s vote doesn’t stop another motion and vote in the future.

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