BC Place video screen upsetting local residents

The giant video screen outside BC Place is keeping local condo residents awake at night and they want it shut down

City says signage bylaws may not apply to provincial land

Although BC Place's jumbo monitor is keeping some neighbours up at night, Vancouver's bylaws do not apply, reports the CBC's Alan Waterman 2:08

Some downtown Vancouver residents say the bright light from the new giant TV screen outside BC Place is keeping them awake at night and they want it shut down.

David Cookson, who lives a few blocks away on Richards Street, says the inside of his condo is often lit up until after midnight by the big screen.  

"I'm about five blocks away, and the light coming off that giant video screen is so strong I can read magazines in the dark with no lights on in my place," he said on Wednesday morning.

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Cookson says strata bylaws prevent many condo owners from putting up black-out curtains and he wants PAVCO, the operator of BC Place to shut the screen down.

The giant video screen was erected outside the stadium as part of its $563-million renovation, which was just unveiled last week.

PAVCO's CEO Warren Buckley says the screen is currently being tested, and shouldn't have run so late this week. He says PAVCO will dim the screen, and shut it down in the early evening.

"We aren't going to point a stick in anyone's eye. We are quite happy to talk to the neighbours about how to remediate this," said Buckley.

The screen was turned off during the night, but turned on again at 7 a.m. PT on Wednesday morning. Cookson says residents won't be satisfied, unless the screen is torn down.

No bylaw apply

Meanwhile Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says city staff are trying to figure out whether the screen violates existing signage bylaws and what the city can do about it.

Robertson says a review is now underway, but he admits there may be little the city can actually do to mitigate the problem

"Our staff are looking to see whether they are in compliance, but ultimately the province can do what it wants to do on its land, so it's not clear what the next steps are going to be there," he said.

"The Jumbotrons on BC Place are actually on provincial land," said Robertson.

Robertson adds the issue with BC Place raises a larger question about the city's sign bylaws, and whether they need to be updated to take into account the growing use of digital signage.

But Cookson disputes the notion that city bylaws don't apply to BC Place, saying the land title office has told him the land is privately held by PAVCO, and he believes that means the sign is not actually exempt from city bylaws.