Andrea Klassen – Kamloops This Week
Clocks across North America got set back last weekend, but a pair of Kamloops campaigners hope they’re one step closer to seeing the end of the time change in B.C.
Bob Dieno has been working to get British Columbia off the time change since he served as president of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce in 2012-2013.
He said he dislikes the annual cycle of spring ahead and fall back from both a business and public safety sense, citing studies which have found the disruption of sleep patterns, particularly during the spring time change, can lead to lowered productivity, increased workplace injuries and more traffic accidents.
Some studies, both U.S.-based and international, have linked the spring time change to an increase in heart attacks.
While the fall time change is usually considered the less harmful of the two, Dieno points to a 2007 study from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where researchers found pedestrians were three times more likely to be struck by a car during rush hour traffic in the first few weeks following the time change
“There’s no gradual change of it slowly getting darker and darker,” Dieno said.
“Suddenly, we all come home in the dark and the accidents go up dramatically right after the time change because people just aren’t used to driving home in the dark.”
With the switch to standard time, Dieno and co-campaigner Tara Holmes have launched a new petition calling on the B.C. government to hold a referendum on the time change alongside next May’s provincial election.
Should residents vote to abolish the time change, Dieno said he would like to see the province stay on daylight savings time year-round.
So far, it has about 2,400 signatures.
Both the Kamloops and B.C. Chambers of Commerce have supported proposals to abolish the time change, and Dieno will get another boost this month from Penticton MLA Dan Ashton, who told KTW he plans to raise the issue at the winter meeting of the Pacific North West Economic Region (PNWER) in Boise, Ida., later this month.
The group represents B.C., Alberta, Saskatchwan and the Yukon and Northwest Territories, as well as Alaska, Montana, Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
Ashton, who is president of the group, said any change to B.C.’s timezone would likely have an effect on trade with those states and provinces.
“So, if we were going to do something ourselves, personally I think there should be an opportunity to discuss it with our trading peers,” he said.
Several of PNWER’s member states have come close to giving voters a say on the time change, though none have yet been successful in getting the issue on a ballot.
Both Washington and Oregon have considered the issue in the past few years and further south, a California initiative fell just short of the required number of votes in the state senate, with legislators raising concerns about the tourism and trade impacts of an increase in the time difference between the east and west coasts for part of the year.
While no state has yet made the leap, Dieno argues if one government were to take the initiative, many others would follow suit.
“I just think somebody has to take that lead.”
Ashton said if Dieno wants B.C. to be at the head of the pack, he may want to try appealing to a lower level of government first by finding a supportive city to raise the issue at the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
“That’s something government listens to on a continual basis,” he said.
Dieno’s petition is available at https://www.change.org/p/christy-clark-stop-the-time-change-in-bc-referendum-may-2017.