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City leaving it to residents to provide input on daylight savings


As the Northwest Territories considers whether to scrap daylight savings, the City of Yellowknife has decided not to weigh in on the issue. 

At a Monday meeting, city councillors discussed the current seasonal time change and whether the city should respond to a survey regarding potential options.

Four councillors said they were in favour of keeping daylight savings as it is. One wanted year-round Mountain Daylight Time introduced, while three wanted to leave it up to residents to voice their opinion.

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With councillors split on the best option – and not filling out the survey considered to be the equivalent of voting to keep daylight savings the same – the city decided against completing the survey as a corporation.

Councillors Niels Konge, Robin Williams, Cynthia Mufandaedza and Steve Payne said they supported keeping daylight savings the same.

“I grew up on a dairy farm. That time change was actually really nice, to be able to get a little bit more morning light,” Konge said.

“I actually don’t mind the time change at all. It works for me, I don’t think it’s a big deal. The adjustment isn’t that hard.” 

Payne said he felt the territorial debate was a “pretty big waste of time” while Williams said he was concerned a time change would put the NWT “out of sync with Alberta,” which could impact businesses.

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“I would rather not be a trailblazer as a small territory on this particular front,” Williams said.

Councillor Shauna Morgan said she would prefer that the territory adopt year-round Mountain Daylight Time – the current summer setting – as it would allow more daylight in winter afternoons and evenings.

Morgan added a twice-yearly time change can cause “significant disruption” for many people and result in productivity loss.

While that option would leave the territory one hour ahead of Alberta in winter, Morgan pointed out people doing business across Canada are already used to dealing with different time zones. 

Councillors Julian Morse and Stacie Smith and Mayor Rebecca Alty said they didn’t believe the city should take part in the survey as an organization. Morgan ultimately said she, too, supported that option. 

“I don’t think, as a representative, my personal opinion matters so much,” Morse said. “Better to defer to the citizens.” 

Alty encouraged residents with thoughts on the matter to fill out the online survey, which is available until May 16.

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