News Local

TED’s voice carries too far for resident 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

TED Talks 2014 screening at Terry Fox Plaza. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

TED Talks 2014 screening at Terry Fox Plaza. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

"I’ve not been successful so far in bringing any kind of solution to Mr. Cookson’s problems, to my regret, but I’ll give it a shot." — Coun. Geoff Meggs

A Vancouver city councillor is investigating whether or not the volume of a giant BC Place screen airing TED Talks could be lowered after a resident’s complaint.

But Coun. Geoff Meggs, who voiced concerns two years ago about the brightness of PavCo’s screen at Terry Fox Plaza, is unsure if anything could actually be done.

David Cookson, who lives about five blocks away from the plaza, said he’s been forced to endure loud “booms” from TED speakers being broadcast

“We think it’s great (TED) is offering their speaker series for free in the public,” Cookson said Tuesday. “What we can’t believe is that they’ve chosen to force it to residents in this neighbourhood.”

Meggs said he’s surprised the noise could be heard from that far away.

“We haven’t been able to persuade them to follow the city’s guidelines. I’ll see if anything can be done about the volumes. This is the first time I’ve heard about it,” he said.

“I’ve not been successful so far in bringing any kind of solution to Mr. Cookson’s problems, to my regret, but I’ll give it a shot.”

A previous council motion demanding PavCo comply with a city bylaw that only allows much smaller screens than the one present failed to convince the Crown corporation to comply.

Instead, according to PavCo spokeswoman Kate Hunter, the screen was dimmed by 25% and operating hours were reduced. She said TED’s broadcast only goes until 8:30 p.m. — well before its own 10:30 p.m. mandatory screen shut-off time.

“We saw it as a very positive, community initiative and a way to allow members of the public to watch the event as it happens,” Hunter said by email.

“I believe that more than 100 people watched the main stage session (Monday) night.”

PavCo, she added, did not receive any money to stream the conference.

Cookson said he was perplexed because when he voiced his complaint to TED, their response was to go to the city.

According to the email, TED curator Chris Anderson said, “We’re sorry if it’s a challenge for you and your neighbours, and will take the city’s advice on this one.”

A media request to TED to determine what advice was given, and who advised it, was not answered by press time. TED 2014 is in Vancouver through March 21.  

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