The rectangular LED sign went up on the side of the Boyd Building on Portage Ave. in October and has been shining brightly on neighbouring buildings ever since. ((CBC))

Residents of a downtown Winnipeg seniors building are fed up with the light pollution from a nearby electronic billboard that flashes brightly 24 hours a day.

A number of people who live at Fred Douglas Place, about a block away from the sign on the side of the Boyd Building, get a full view of the glare.

The rectangular sign consists of an LED display that carries advertising for various businesses.

Resident Connie Becker said the invasion of light is insufferable.

"We love living downtown, but I think that we should not have to tolerate the light that's intruding into our space," she said.

CBC News has learned the sign, installed on the 98-year-old Portage Avenue building in October, was put up illegally.


The billboard offers 'bigger, brighter, better' advertising opportunities to customers. ((CBC))

The city's historical buildings committee declined a request by the Boyd building's owner to erect the sign, and Coun. Harvey Smith said city inspectors have told the owners to get the sign approved.

"It has to go to the standing committee [on property and development], and I will appear there and oppose it," Smith said. "So, it's a good chance, you know, that we can put an end to this."

CBC News contacted the owner of the building, who declined an interview.

Even though Fred Douglas Place is a block northwest of the Boyd Building, both are highrises. Resident Rose Bilan has a clear view of the sign, and even when she closes the drapes, the light still blazes through her window.

"If I'm lying down and reading or something, all of a sudden, when it's flashing, you think 'Gee, what's going on?' And it disturbs you," she said.

The residents say they have complained to city officials, but nothing has changed.

Calls to the downtown business association, Downtown Winnipeg Biz, were not immediately returned.