No 'falling back' for Peace Region clocks

This Sunday many Canadians will participate in daylight savings time but for the Peace Region, turning back the clock an hour will not take place.

"As long as I've lived in the Peace country it has been that way, where we don't change," explained Mayor Mike Bernier who's lived in the Peace Region for over 20 years.

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Cities within the Peace Region such as Fort St. John, Charlie Lake, Taylor, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge, do not change their clocks and therefore become an hour ahead of the rest of British Columbia and by default go on Alberta time. Other places in Canada that don't change times include Creston, B.C. and Saskatchewan.

While Bernier admits that there have been previous discussions about changing the clocks in Dawson Creek, especially with the close ties Alberta companies have with the Peace Region, he explained that currently there are no plans to change.

What's the purpose of falling back and springing ahead and why has the Peace Region chosen to be different? Some experts say that changing the clocks has to do with daylight.

"The sun doesn't get up and set at the same time all year round," said Dr. Rob Douglas, principal research officer with the National Research Council in the frequency and time standards group.

According to Douglas, the whole process of turning the clocks back takes place because people cannot control the fact the world is run on a time system, but they can control the time they go by.

"If you're in a situation where you are constrained to follow not the sun, but rather the dictates of a clock you try and have the clock follow what you want so that you've got daylight available when you want it."

Douglas believes that daylight savings occurs out of convenience and thinks that those who live in the region have the best judgment of what's going to work best for them.

"Nobody gets thrown in jail if you don't use the official time. The reason that you're using a default time is so that you don't have to bother saying what you meant by a time most of the time."

Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman has other ideas of why the Peace doesn't take part in daylight savings.

She explained years ago the Pine Pass was difficult to get through and therefore the Peace Region became culturally, economically and geographically attached to Alberta.

The technology of the time also played a factor.

"At the time, technology was such that most of the drilling etc. was done in the winter time, so we just never changed time," she said.

The attachment to Alberta even went as far as having a referendum to see if the people of the Peace wanted to officially go on Alberta time.

"The people that I've spoken to who lived here at the time, meant to do that. They meant to just be like the east Kootenay's and stay on Alberta time all the time, but the questions were confusing and they voted on the one that they thought was right," noted Ackerman.

The alleged confusing wording meant that some people may have actually voted to not participate in daylight savings time, even though they actually meant to be the same time as Alberta. However, ever since the referendum, the Peace Region's clocks have stayed the same.

Some people would like the Peace Region take steps to go to Alberta time permanently.

"It would be nice if it was all the same time because we're from Bonanza and we stay on Dawson Creek time so we have to remember," explained Phoebe McCarlie.

McCarlie and her family choose to stay on Dawson Creek time because her husband works in the community and she participates in the Dawson Creek Farmer's market. Therefore, her family has to continuously remember that for half the year, Dawson Creek is one hour behind Alberta.

Bernier, however, is someone who would like the clocks to stay just as they are.

"I love it the way it is, I love just keeping it the same year round, I don't know if for us if there would be any benefits to changing," noted Bernier.

In addition, he actually expressed interest in having other places follow the Peace Region's system.

"It would be nice if just B.C. and Alberta stayed the same and didn't do daylight savings too. That would make things so much easier," he said.

Even though Bernier might like everyone to follow the Peace Region's lead, he also said that he knows for some places the cost the extra hour of daylight makes a difference, but he's not convinced an extra hour of daylight at night would make any different to the people of the Peace.

Ackerman understands why some believe that remaining on Alberta time makes sense.

Explaining that with a large portion of the Peace's industry coming from Alberta, it would make sense to remain on Alberta time, especially in the winter.

However, Ackerman says not changing times doesn't bother her.

"I'm used to it, I just leave all my electronics on Phoenix Arizona time zone and I don't have any problems with it."

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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