Vancouver city councillor reveals B.C. Place ties

Ball proposed amending motion aimed at external ad screens

A veteran Non-Partisan Association city councillor says she was not in a conflict of interest at Jan. 17 council meeting.

Coun. Elizabeth Ball unsuccessfully proposed an amendment to Vision Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs' motion against B.C. Place Stadium's controversial external advertising screens. Ball suggested the intensity of light bothering area neighbours be measured to help convince B.C. Pavilion Corporation to comply with civic sign bylaws.

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Ball's Jan. 10 statement of financial disclosure shows her stakes in Eos Lightmedia Corp., Ball/Welch Holdings and Lightscene Ventures, the holding company for CD/M2 Lightworks Corp. Lightworks supplied the new LED lighting system for B.C. Place's roof and facade while Eos and Virginia-based partner C.M. Kling programmed the effects.

Ball's husband Douglas Welch is managing director and principal designer of Eos and principal of business development for Lightworks, but Ball said she has no say in management. "Had I anything to do with the lighting that was being discussed, I would have had to declare that interest," Ball told the Courier.

The Vancouver Charter says: "A council member must not use his or her office to attempt to influence in any way a decision or action to be made or taken_ if the member has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the matter to which the decision, recommendation or other action relates."

During debate on the motion, Ball did not mention her interest in the lighting companies or their dealings with PavCo. "The companies that I have those interests in have nothing whatsoever to do with the lights that have been supplied as the signs at B.C. Place," she said in an interview.

Ball told council that artificial light is a "wonderful gift to the community, but it is also a double-edged sword."

"It is important that we make an attempt to work with both PavCo and the province so we can actually get a solution rather than just an adversarial situation," she said Jan. 17. "If we do this kind of preparatory work, we're also looking at the future of lighting in the city. Rather than wasting time having time to do work again and again, we can look at the sign bylaw and bring it up to speed with the new lighting that is out there."

Lightworks' credits include lighting the Southeast False Creek Energy Centre stacks, Olympic Village plaza and Telus World of Science dome. The city's 2010 financial report showed $130,200 of payments to Eos.

Ball, who has a background as a theatrical producer and director, originally sat on council 2005 to 2008. Her business holdings are not mentioned in her profiles on the civic or NPA campaign websites.

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