COLUMN: Should Nelson dispense with time change?

Top of mind at the start of this week was the time change and why do we still do it.

Nelson should join Creston in abandoning the twice yearly time change

Top of mind at the start of this week was the time change and why do we still do it. Time change has a folkloric quality to it. My personal recollection of why it was supposedly initiated was so farmers could have more time in the fields to plant and harvest. A colleague stated it was to save electricity.

My partner Mike found an article that stated it was heavily endorsed by the Chambers of Commerce. They believed that with more daylight people shopped more and longer. Of interest is the fact that my younger colleagues the millennials and Gen Xers didn’t have any idea of the “history” of the time change they just want the hour of sleep!

So why do we continue? The multitudes of studies show that even this one hour shift in time is bad for our health. A study from Finland shows that our chances of having a stroke increase in the first 48 hours after time change. Heart attack risk is increased by seven per cent for the first three days post change. A University of Colorado study pointed to a 17 per cent spike in traffic-related deaths on the Monday after DST. Car accidents increase eight per cent. Productivity also takes a hit as “cyberloafing” increases. This is the term used when workers surf the web for personal, not business-related activities.

Perhaps it is time for the City of Nelson to take the lead on pushing forward to eliminate future time changes. Our neighbours to the east in Creston do not change time and they seem to be managing just fine. They are part of the Regional District of Central Kootenay, as is Nelson perhaps we should all be on the same time zone.

Time change requires provincial approval. As municipalities and regional districts we are members of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. This is the organization through which we can lobby the government for change. Locally we also participate in the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local government, yet another avenue to have our concerns raised.

Hugs and slugs in the past few weeks I have noticed an increase in slugs regarding poor drivers. Now that spring is on its way more people are getting out and about. Many seniors who park their cars for the winter are out driving again now that the snow is gone. With the hazards of winter driving for the most part behind us drivers are perhaps not so cautious. Rules of the road apply at all times regardless of season.

With the weather improving and more evening light (a positive aspect of DST) there are more pedestrians and cyclists out. I encourage everyone to try and leave a few minutes earlier for work and appointments, slow down let other divers know your intention (that is why signal lights were invented) and be prepared to share the road.

One last (personal) note — I would like to recognize my colleague Dawn Powell on her upcoming retirement April 29. She started work at Kootenay Lake Hospital on May 1, 1979 37 years ago. Thank you for your years of providing quality health care to the members of our community. May you have a long and healthy retirement!

As always, comments and concerns or ideas on what you would like to see me write about are always welcome — email me at jmorrison@nelson.ca.

Nelson city councillor Janice Morrison shares this space weekly with her council colleagues.

 

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