News Local

City suggests PavCo comply on screen row

By Erica Bulman, 24 Hours Vancouver

Residents in nearby towers complain the glare from the oversized screen at BC Place, pictured above, is disrupting their home life. (PHOTO COURTESY OF STOPBILLBOARD)

Residents in nearby towers complain the glare from the oversized screen at BC Place, pictured above, is disrupting their home life. (PHOTO COURTESY OF STOPBILLBOARD)

Vancouver city council is going to demand a clear action plan from PavCo on how it will bring into compliance the giant digital screens at BC Place that are beaming ads directly into the adjacent condos.

And while the city has no legal recourse since the three screens sit on provincial land, council intimated failure to respect municipal bylaws would create "difficulties down the road" for PavCo, which hopes to continue developing the area around BC Place.

"If PavCo wants to thumb its nose at city processes, it can do so. I don't think it's wise," said Coun. Geoff Meggs, who forwarded the motion. "They promised when they applied for rezoning in the first place they would come forward to the city the way anybody else would under the circumstances.

"I take them at their word."

Since the screens went up late last year residents around Terry Fox Plaza have been blinded by the billboards, which flash from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or even later if there's an event at the stadium.

The biggest screen is around 2,000 sq. ft. City bylaws allow just 200 sq. ft.

"There's no reason why a small group of revenue-hungry elitist executives in a dark room somewhere can decide what type of harassment that they're going to subject and impose on our community," said David Cookson, leader of the residents group Take the Giant Screen Down Now.

Crown corporations traditionally respect municipal bylaws, but PavCo erected the screens without city approval. And four months of discussions with PavCo and the Ministry of Tourism and Jobs have proven fruitless.

But Meggs remains "optimistic" because PavCo has "big plans" for development around BC Place, which are "complex" and "involve a lot of residential buildings."

He suggested if PavCo doesn't comply it might "see more difficulties down the road" in planning future development.

"I would just say this to PavCo," Meggs said, "We've certainly gone the extra mile to facilitate the development around BC Place.

"What we need, if we're going to be successful going forward, is for the public to have confidence PavCo will do what is right by the public, not just what is right by PavCo."