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East Kootenay to Control Preferred Time Zone Changes

Tom Shypitka, MLA for Kootenay East clarified the future of time zone changes for the region, revealing that East Kootenay communities can effectively choose their preferred option under government guidelines.

Each East Kootenay community, whether it be Cranbrook or Kimberley, Fernie or Sparwood, could effectively choose which time they would like to observe given the wording of Bill 40.

More: Bill 40 – Interpretation Amendment Act (B.C. Legislature)

“Those of us here on Mountain Daylight Savings or Mountain Standard, essentially we have destiny in our own hands,” Shypitka told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “We can make our own decisions through the Interpretation Act and the Local Government Act whether we want to change how we address Mountain Daylight or Mountain Standard or whether we want to indeed join Pacific Time Zone.”

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All of British Columbia will be moving to Pacific Time Zone, pending the decisions from Washington, Oregon, and California, which is effectively 7 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). However, seeing as the East Kootenay is on Mountain Daylight Saving Time, the entire region can choose who to align with or whether to do it their own way.

Meeting with the Regional District of East Kootenay about the issue, Shypitka wanted to begin a regional discussion about the topic to make sure the communities were unified in the decision-making process, so as not to have multiple communities be on changing or different time zones.

“We’ve got all of the tools and all of the options available to us. My suggestion to the Board was to wait to see what Alberta does, they’re going through the same survey and see if we want to mesh with Alberta, whether we want to mesh with B.C., or whether we want to do our own thing locally or regionally.”

The message to the RDEK Directors, including the Mayors of the East Kootenay communities was that the public should be heard what they prefer and then move forward with a decision, or further widespread public consultation.

“Feel out your communities and if you see some consistency throughout the region then maybe you don’t have to go to a referendum, if you see some discrepancies or some nuances between communities, maybe a referendum is something we should be looking at.”

“It’s a real coordinated effort between other jurisdictions on the consistency of time and making sure that we’re not making it unnecessarily complicated,” added Shypitka. “We can either be minus-7 hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) or minus-6, as in the case of Mountain Daylight Savings Time, it’s up to us. The cards are on the table but let’s just be consistent and let’s have discussion before we’re in that decision where we have to make a jump decision.”

While Washington, Oregon, and California undergo their own review of Daylight Saving Time, British Columbia won’t officially make the change to Pacific Time. Shypitka believes the earliest implementation of any changes to time observance would be in the fall of 2020.

Previous: MLAs Attempt to Clarify Daylight Savings Time Amendments (December 13, 2019)

Previous: B.C. Voices Support of Year-Round Daylight Saving Time (September 10, 2019)

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