Council looks for action on Stadium billboard issue
One of the new PavCo digital billboards. January 2012.
The new digital billboards installed around BC Place Stadium have been causing no end of headaches for nearby residents. The billboards are enormous – many times the size that would be allowed under the City’s Sign Bylaw – and they’re very bright. So bright, in fact, that one resident nearby told us that at 2:00am he can now read in his bedroom without any additional bedside lights whatsoever.
The signs were installed by PavCo, a Provincial Crown Corporation of the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, following the renovation of the stadium. PavCo replaced a set of older, smaller digital billboards in roughly the same location – plunking the new ones down, it would seem, with nary a whit of forewarning or consultation.
The previous digital billboards – pre-renovation. April 2008.
Needless to say, people living nearby – particularly on the west side of the stadium – have been trying to get the billboards removed for some time. They’ve even started a blog on the subject, documenting the challenges they’ve encountered.
The City is also irked by the gargantuan signage. The Mayor wrote a letter to Minister Pat Bell, but it appears not to have resulted in much change.
Unfortunately for the City, the fact that these signs are located on a provincially-owned property means there’s a bit of jurisdictional conundrum. From a legal perspective, it doesn’t appear that the City can enforce the provisions of the municipal Sign Bylaw as a means to reign in the nuisance factor. That being said, it can, and has, asked PavCo to act in the spirit of good neighbourly relations and respect the provisions of the Bylaw. (It’s worth noting that it’s not clear if the intent of the City’s initial request was to encourage PavCo to reduce the size of the signs, remove them all together, or simply to eliminate the increased nuisance that comes from the brightness of the signs at night. We hope it was more than just the latter).
In any event, the issue of the PavCo signs is to be considered at City Council next week. Councillor Geoff Meggs has put a motion on notice that will be considered on Tuesday, January 17 @ 9:30am. The motion asks for “a clear action plan by PAVCO to bring the signs into compliance with City standards.”
If you’ve got a position on this issue we encourage you to make your voice heard by emailing geoff.meggs [at] vancouver.ca and mayorandcouncil [at] vancouver.ca. The motion will likely be referred to one of Council’s Standing Committees later in the week. If this happens members of the public will also be able to make a short presentation in person (5 minutes).
Here’s the motion from Councillor Meggs:
BC Place Stadium Digital Signs
MOVER: Councillor Geoff Meggs
1. residents around BC Place Stadium continue to report significant negative impact from the installation of large digital signs at three locations around the stadium;
2. these signs were not installed with advance public consultation and public input, as would have been required on a similar project under City jurisdiction;
3. efforts by Mayor Robertson to resolve public concerns through correspondence with Minister Pat Bell have not produced results;
4. claims by PAVCO that they have mitigated the impact and reduced brilliance and intrusiveness of the lighting have not produced the improvements sought by residents.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council direct the City Manager to advise PAVCO that the City requires a clear action plan by PAVCO to bring the signs into compliance with City standards and processes, failing which the City will seek further remedies to reduce neighbourhood impact.