A proposed citywide vote on whether the Vancouver Aquarium should keep whales and dolphins could result in a lawsuit, its chair charged Thursday.

Aaron Jasper said a motion by Stuart Mackinnon “puts the taxpayers of Vancouver at considerable risk from a lawsuit.” He accused his fellow commissioner of trying to “initiate political mischief.”

Mackinnon, however, said he checked with the city and was told there is nothing illegal with a non-binding plebiscite.

“All we’re doing is asking for public opinion,” Mackinnon said.

The Parks Board will review its captive cetacean bylaw in 2015.

Mackinnon has proposed the plebiscite for the 2011 civic election, potentially the last one before 2015.

The aquarium has not threatened a lawsuit, Jasper said, but added that staff informed him the possibility exists.

“I'm not against having a conversation about cetaceans in captivity,” Jasper said.

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