Chosen as a 'Top letter' from amongst hundreds of complaint letters and emails received about the giant digital billboards at BC Place Stadium:
Subject: 'Oversized billboard really needs to come down'
Minister Pat Bell,
This oversized billboard really needs to come down. I live in Yaletown, far enough away that I am not directly affected by the most recently installed overly bright billboards, but many people - some with small, growing children - are living in the direct line of these glaring, monstrous boards. They are forced to live under the stress of the sign's bright lights invading their homes at all hours. In particular, the billboard outlined in the general letter below seems to be the biggest offender, causing a great deal of tension in the lives of the people affected by it.
Environmental stresses such as this type of visual intrusion have been known to disrupt regular functioning, trigger the body's stress responses and disrupt sleep. The World Health Organization conducted a study which concluded that the impact of such visual burdens can increase the risk of depression in individuals by 40%, as well as cause a great deal of mental anxiety in those vulnerable to such visual noise. (Not to mention the impact this will have on property values.)
I have to say, with all due respect, I feel outraged that no political body has made a move toward helping these people. As far as I'm aware, no action has been taken toward removing the screens; it seems the 'problem' gets either deferred or ignored - like a passing of the buck. Should our politicians not be looking out for the public they serve ?
Generally, people living in the city don't seem to like these overwhelming screens. They cheapen the city's ambient look and feel, and are too, too bright. As a side note, I can also imagine a potentially negative impact on the companies using these screens, like Telus and Pepsi. Surely they must be aware of how these billboards are affecting their customers.