BEC may cut power to digital signs
The owners of several digital signs across New Providence have been given almost 16 notices to turn them off, according to Minister of the Environment Earl Deveaux.
But they continue to illuminate.
He said the next course of action could be to order the Bahamas Electricity Corporation(BEC)to cut the power to the signs.
“I sent a request to the chairman of the Town Planning Committee[Friday]morning specifically asking that he write the Bahamas Electricity Corporation and the building control officer and invite their urgent assistance in bringing those signs into compliance with the law,”Deveaux said.
“We have given them notice, we have written them 16 times and I think it will be fair to say that if we are going to BEC we are looking at the meters.”
Last month, it was brought to the attention of the government that the signs were becoming a public nuissance to some communities and a look at the laws regarding signage in The Bahamas revealed that lighted signs that blink are not permitted by law.
“We know for a fact that all but one of the signs are totally illegal,”Deveaux said.
“That means they have no permission to be up. There appears to be some ambiguity on one of them with respect to the partial approval given.
“At the very least we expect that at the end of the day, these digital signs are not blinking at all hours of the night without regulation.”
He suggested that Robin Hood had begun the process of getting approval for its digital sign on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway but insisted that full approval was never given.
“None of them are legal but there is some ambiguity as to the conditional approval given to Robin Hood,”Deveaux said.
“That means they made an application and their application was being entertained and there was some recommendation as to changing the design or specification of the use and then the sign was activated.”
Both Robin Hood and Mario’s advertise their businesses on the digital sign, as well as several other local businesses.
Smaller digital signs have been placed on Shirley Street, at the intersection of Marathon Road and Prince Charles Drive and at Fox Hill Road and Prince Charles Drive.
Another digital sign brightens the entrance to the Wyndham Crystal Palace Casino, which is used to advertise businesses and events for the resort.
Deveaux said in fairness to the owners of the signs, the government realizes that the sign code is extremely outdated, having been penned in 1964.
And he added that they have invited the owners of the signs to meet with the government in an effort to amend that code.
“The technology that exists today did not exist then, but we would rather do it in consultation than to have this kind of high handed action taking place,”he said.
“We are responding primarily to public safety concerns… We are responding specifically to neighborhood complaints about an inability to sleep because the lights never go off and they are constantly blinking.”