The Vancouver Aquarium has filed a lawsuit against the City of Vancouver as well as the park board over the financial impact of the cetacean ban.

In a lawsuit filed on May 14, Ocean Wise Conservation Authority – the parent company for the aquarium – says it's suing for damages for breach of contract and costs.

The organization says it suffered an approximate $4 million loss of revenue in 2017 and 2018 as admission rates dropped.

It also claims to have lost a major donation equal to $7.5 million for building its new Arctic exhibit and wrote off $2.2 million in costs incurred for planning the new habitat for cetaceans.

Ocean Wise says it had planned on returning a small group of belugas to its marine centre following the completion of its expansion plan.

The aquarium blames those losses on the cetacean ban.

Ocean Wise says the lease it signed with the city says the Vancouver Park Board "will not interfere with the day-to-day administration" of the aquarium.

"As a result of the Bylaws Amendment, together with the City's acquiescence or failure to prevent the wrongful interference, the Vancouver Aquarium has suffered and continues to suffer loss and damage," the lawsuit reads.

Ocean Wise says since the bylaw against cetaceans was passed, it's suffered a loss of attendance-based revenue, financial commitments from supporters, wasted money from its plan to upgrade its cetacean habitats and altered plans.

Since its creation, the aquarium says it's attracted more than 45 million visitors and more than a million visitors per year in both 2015 and 2016.

"Unlike other similar not-for-profit organizations which operate prominent attractions within Vancouver, all of the (aquarium's) day-to-day operations are funded without annual subsidy from any level of government, including the city," the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit also details the aquarium's licence agreement with the city and the Park Board.

Their current agreement expires in 2029.

Ocean Wise says the aquarium pays two licence fees: a fixed annual fee and a monthly fee based on the gross revenue from food and beverage sales.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In a statement, the park board says it is reviewing the claim with its legal team and considering its options.

In March 2018, a court determined the park board had no authority to ban cetaceans at the aquarium, based on contract provisions.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled in February 2018 that the aquarium's "non-interference" provisions in its contract prevented the board from banning the animals.

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