Subject: 'These billboards a violation of the public trust'
Dear Minister Bell,
We are extremely disappointed in your response below to our complaint regarding the harmful digital billboards at BC Place. We insist that the billboards are a violation of the public trust that must be removed without delay.
We also wish to correct several erroneous statements contained in your response:
- We do not believe your assertion that PavCo is engaged in dialogue with neighbours about the ongoing damage caused to their homes by the digital billboards at BC Place. We along with other neighbours have not received responses to the messages we sent to PavCo.
- Neighbours' complaints regarding the billboards are reiterated daily and are increasing in number. If your office has received fewer complaints lately then it is only because residents have become resigned to the belief that you and your government are ignoring the fundamental interests of voters at BC Place to instead serve the petty interests of powerful corporations.
- We have never heard a single resident say that they are appeased by the current brightness and schedule of the billboards. If the brightness of the billboard screens has been reduced at all then that reduction is absolutely insignificant. PavCo's contemptuous operation of those screens has been managed remotely without due public consultation and in complete contravention of the Vancouver Sign By-Law, which represents the interests of all Vancouver residents. Screens of that size and brightness could never be operated without harming neighbours, and should have never been erected in a residential neighbourhood.
- Contrary to your assertion, the billboard screens outside BC Place are not an integral part of the stadium experience. Events happen inside BC Place, not outside of it. The stadium is a hermetic compound within a dense residential neighbourhood. The zone outside the stadium is not an "entertainment district" as you claim. Even if it were an entertainment district there is nothing entertaining about the video billboards outside the stadium. Most of the programming on those screens is offensive advertising that cannot be escaped by residents in their own homes.
- The City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia are disgraced every time an advertisement overshadows the Terry Fox memorial. That is not entertainment.
- Your insinuation that tormenting neighbours in their homes is an appropriate way to defray stadium costs at BC Place is indefensible and unacceptable. We are amazed at your implication that the combined intellects of PavCo, Telus, and the BC Liberal government are unable to conceive of a business plan for stadium renewal that does not involve the complete degradation of downtown Vancouver.
- Contrary to your claims, PavCo is not working in any meaningful way to address the concerns of neighbours and clearly does not intend to be "the best neighbour possible". If anyone at PavCo or in your office had that intent then they would have followed the Vancouver Sign By-Law and sought dialogue with neighbours. The widely-reported public outcry against these screens makes it plain that no such dialogue has occurred. Vancouver Council has recently been forced to pass a resolution to prompt the initiation of that dialogue and to achieve compliance with the Vancouver Sign By-Law.
We urge you to correct your erroneous statements and policies regarding the digital billboards at BC Place immediately in order to relieve our daily suffering and that of our many neighbours. We are certain that BC Liberals' constituents expect elected officials to protect citizens' homes more faithfully than you have done thus far in downtown Vancouver.