Council makes move to dim blinding BC Place billboards
Published Thursday, January 12, 2012 4:11PM PST
A motion set to go before Vancouver council Tuesday will ask BC Place to step in line with city bylaws and stop the flashing lights filling residents' apartments even though it is unclear who can enforce regulations.
The B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), which manages the stadium, turns off the lights between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. on the large digital sign on Robson Street but neighbours say the two remaining signs remain lit well into the night.
Residents are not happy.
"The screen is in our living rooms, it's flashing across our dinner tables and it's in our children's bedrooms," said David Cookson, a neighbour of the Robson Street sign. "It's unbelievable that PavCo would do this without any community or city consultation."
Similar complaints from local residents prompted the motion from Councillor Geoff Meggs.
"There hasn't been enough of a process, as far as they're concerned, to be satisfied that it's the best BC Place can do and a lot of them are demanding the sign be taken right down," Meggs said.
Not only are apartment residents upset by the flashy advertising boards, but the city has also received public complaints that one of the boards also makes the backdrop for the new Terry Fox Plaza, flashing ads for the latest beer products behind the beloved icon's memorial.
City council has been receiving complaints about the boards for the last three months, but the installation is on provincial property and the city says it does not have the power to enforce its bylaws.
"The installation came as a shock to the city and was done completely outside any process the city would use," said Meggs. "The province may have the right to do it, but I don't think it's wise to do it that way,"
The screens measure 2,000 square feet in area, about 10 times bigger than what city regulations currently allow.
According to NDP critic Spencer Chandra Herbert, the screens are controlled by Telus and a third-party owner means that city guidelines should apply and the province could take it down.
"PavCo has the power to say ‘no, it shouldn't be here anymore,' but really it is the government's hands. The Liberals could say today that it should be gone and it would be gone," Herbert said.
Telus representatives told CTV News they would not comment on any sponsorships at BC Place. PavCo also said the advertising boards are part of ongoing negotiations about sponsorship and would not comment further.
The stadium is also dealing with another issue that has been a problem since it reopened in the fall -- the new roof is leaking.
"We spend over $563 million for BC Place, nearly doubling the budget – you would expect the roof not to leak" said Chandra Herbert.
With the wet weather so far this winter, the permanent sealing of the roof has been delayed until spring.
However, PavCo has said it will be completed without extra costs and winter events will not be cancelled.
With reports from CTV British Columbia's Brent Shearer and Shannon Paterson