A famous German physicist once said time is relative.
And when it comes to proposed changes to daylight saving time, the provincial government has made the issue relatively confusing.
Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka stopped by a monthly regional district meeting to explain the changes and how it will affect residents in the riding, which is in a different time zone than the rest of the province.
The proposed change under Bill 40 — the Interpretation Amendment Act — would see a year-round observance of Daylight Saving Time, calling it Pacific Time, to align with time changes being proposed in the northwestern U.S. and Western Canada.
The new Pacific Time is seven hours behind the standardized Coordinated Universal Time.
However, the challenge is that there are two other time zones in the province: Creston operates on Mountain Standard Time as does the Peace region, while, the East Kootenay observes Mountain Daylight Saving Time.
But the proposed change to year-round DST includes language that would let municipalities in the East Kootenay control their own destinies.
“Essentially what it says, is communities that use MST or MDT, it is up to them … [to] stay the same all year long or change between the two,” Shypitka told the meeting.
“In other words, if Cranbrook wanted to go to Mountain Standard Time, we would just make an application to the province and we could jump on board. That’s essentially what Creston did.”
Let’s go further down the rabbit hole.
Moving to year-round Pacific Daylight Saving Time would align with Mountain Standard Time.
“Essentially, we would have … if the U.S. coordinates with us … two different time zones with the same time,” Shypitka said. “Mountain Standard Time will be the exact same as Pacific Time.”
Alberta is also determining how it wants to standardize time.
Shypitka suggested waiting for Alberta’s review to be complete before moving forward, given the region’s ties to it.
Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick agreed: “What Alberta does is absolutely critical to us. Having a discussion with any of the tourists who come out here, one hour to Albertans is huge and I think we need to take that into consideration or risk upending the whole pattern of tourism traffic.”
Implementation would begin after ‘springing forward’ an hour in March, and then leaving the clocks alone in the fall.