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Semi-annual reminder that city council could end time changes
It could also set up a centralized homeless camp. Will it? Who knows! Read to the end for a tiny bulldozer and good job ad. Also, a favour
We’re into year something-or-other of the province saying it will end the time change every spring and autumn and it not actually happening until the right parts of the United States do it too. And that means it’s time for my semi-regular reminder that not only does the province not have to wait for the United States, our city doesn’t need to wait for the province! As I wrote way back in 2015, “We could actually get rid of daylight saving time pretty easily – and start our own crazy time zone, too!”
There are, however, some parts of the country that don’t bother: Saskatchewan, parts of Ontario, Nunavut, and right here in British Columbia. The community of Fort Nelson in northeastern B.C. is changing its clocks for the last time, having decided in the last election to join the rest of the Peace region and observe Mountain Standard Time year-round.
After hearing this, I contacted the the Ministry of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development- they oversee local governments, so I figured they would be responsible for this sort of thing. Turns out they weren’t. After some poking around, I found it’s the Ministry of Justice.
The reason for this is the observation of time zones falls under the Interpretation Act, an unwieldy document that basically lays out a bunch of rules on how we should refer to distances and people so that it is legally sound. Time falls under this. So I emailed the Ministry of Justice some questions, which I’ve pasted along with their answers below:
Q. Who actually decides what time zone a community is in?
A. The Interpretation Act regulates the use of daylight saving time (DST), which was adopted after a provincewide plebiscite in 1952. However, the provincial government does not require that all parts of the province observe Pacific Time or DST. Some areas in the province have historically observed Mountain Time or have chosen not to observedaylight saving time.
Q. Can they just say “we’re in a new time zone now” and that’s it? Or is there some oversight?
A. The decision can be made by the local community.
Q. And who has the authority to change it?
A. While communities may change the time zone they observe, when dealing in matters of provincial law, Pacific Time applies.
The short version of this is that although legal documents require us to use Pacific Time as decided by the province, for conventional purposes we can do whatever the heck we want. The decision to change time zones is entirely in the hands of the same people who are in charge of parking meters and dog licences: your local government.
At the next city council meeting, someone could propose we observe Azerbaijan Time Mondays and Thursday and Easter Island Summer Time the rest of the week, and if the rest of council agrees, we could be on crazy kooky time before summer rolls around.
In practice, they’d probably want to get buy-in from the community – most likely a plebiscite to abolish Daylights Savings at the next local election – but heck, that’s pretty easy, too.
The city might try to do something about homeless camps again
A month ago, I wrote about how the city seems to have given up on trying to do anything about the 1st Ave. homeless camp despite there being no real reason for them to. While the city was spinning things as if their hands were tied because of court decisions, the opposite actually seemed to be the case. As I wrote:
The legal ruling preventing the city from shutting down the Lower Patricia (Moccasin Flats) homeless camp also explicitly said the city could take action on other encampments in the community… [the court ruling] was giving the city explicit permission to tell people to move to Lower Patricia from the George St. camp or lose their stuff.
And now, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a report going to council that proposes exactly that:
The report lays out a proposal to authorize the Lower Patricia encampment, otherwise known as Moccasin Flats, as the only designated site in the city where overnight sheltering is permitted…
The centralized encampment approach.. suggests means that any persons found sheltering at other locations would be removed and directed either to a shelter, or to Moccasin Flats.
“This approach allows for the eventual cleanup and remediation of Millennium Park [1st Ave.] to return it to its original purpose in addition to restricting overnight sheltering throughout the City’s other parks by authorizing one central site, at Lower Patricia (which is protected by Court-Order until which time suitable housing is available for everyone),” [the city’s director of public safety Adam] Davey writes.”
This exact same strategy was proposed eight months ago and shot down by the previous council, so we’ll see! There’s certainly been an inconsistent approach to this so anything could happen.
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Kelowna school board ends public comment period altogether
On Tuesday I wrote about the (in)decision over whether to stream school board meetings generally and the public comment period specifically pointing out htat while on the one hand, this can seem like there’s less transparency and democracy, it may also be a response to members of the public wanting to use the meetings and the platform they provide to push their own agenda. That post is here. Well, in Kelowna they are going a step further — ending free public comments altogether, for the exact reasons I outlined:
On Thursday, the Central Okanagan School District (SD23), based in Kelowna, B.C., announced that the 15-minute second comment period — where public attendees are allowed to speak on any topics of their choice — was cancelled at the board meeting held on March 8.
The district said it is cancelling comments during the second comment period made in person or remotely on Zoom, the online platform where the meetings are broadcast live. It says the suspension will continue until it completes a revision of the policies governing school board meetings.
The Central Okanagan Board of Education holds a board meeting every other Wednesday. The first comment period, which also lasts 15 minutes, allows public comments, but since the school district requires them to be made on items listed on meeting agendas, it restricts the possibility of verbal abuse on unrelated topics.
The school district's news release doesn't mention the nature of the "discriminatory comments" that it said were made recently, but the district's communications adviser Justin Schneider, confirms they contained anti-LGBTQ sentiments and language.
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News, news, we gots the news:
Confirmation on the scope of the investigation into Prince George RCMP from Alberta’s Serious Incident Response Team: “If we were to uncover allegations of criminal activity either regarding the sexual abuse [in] Prince George or the more recent allegations of a coverup, we would handle all of that."
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