The Hawaii Mars in action over Sproat Lake in Port Alberni. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

B.C. cities vote against 10-year Martin Mars contract

Port Alberni delegates had fought to ask new NDP government for new deal

Cities across B.C. chose not to stand behind Port Alberni and the city’s beloved Martin Mars at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention on Thursday.

Coun. Chris Alemany brought a motion asking delegates to support urging the province to enter in a 10-year contract with the Coulson Group and “ensure [the] Coulson Group upgrade the aircraft to meet operational requirements.”

“We thought the fires couldn’t get any worse… they did. Along came 2015, 2017 with unprecedented fire activity and impact on our province and communities,” said Alemany.

The resolution has been brought to the UBCM twice before but Alemany said that this year’s was different, citing the section that required the province and Coulson to work together on keeping the plane’s technology up-to-date.

Alemany said that with a new NDP government in Victoria, it was time to try again to ask for the Mars, “not because it’s better but because it is one more tool in the toolbox.”

Earlier this summer, the now-former BC Liberal government told Black Press that “there are more modern and cost-effective aircraft available for use in B.C.’s varied terrain.”

READ: Province says no to Hawaii Mars

The Martin Mars planes have been the subject of much debate over the years with supporters claiming that nothing packs the same punch as the large waterbombers, while those against claim that the planes are expensive and unable to draw water from the province’s smaller lakes.

Several delegates spoke out against the waterbombers.

Caribou Regional District director Dylan Cash told the convention that wildfire fire crews told him that the Mars was “no longer strategic in what they are doing” with the large fires that covered much of B.C. this summer.

More to come.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sternwheelers once plied Okanagan Lake

Vessels once transported passengers and goods along the Okanagan Valley

Fires ignite on Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie; Kamloops Fire Centre blazes holding

Crews working throughout region over holiday weekend to contain wildfires

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Fourteen blazes sparked in Kamloops Fire Centre

Lightning the suspected cause of all fires but one; cause of Solco Creek blaze remains unknown

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Police watchdog investigates Kamloops RCMP after stabbing death

The IIO is investigating the police’s lack of success in locating the man charged in stabbing

Forty-three properties near Dry Lake, along Highway 5A, under evacuation alert

Wildfire has been burning out of control north of Princeton for two days

Wildfire near Merritt creates smoke for drivers on Coquihalla

Coldwater River fire was estimated at seven hectares Aug. 3 and classified as out of control

Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association: Who can’t access your business?

TOTA launches video to encourage proprietors to remove barriers

Shuswap pet nutritionist, raw diet advocate to be featured in national magazine

Sicamous-based Deanna Larocque building reputation for canine support

BC RCMP notify IIO BC of incident involving police dog in Kelowna

A suspect and a police dog were taken to receive medical treatment after an incident on Aug. 1.

Wildfire burning out of control at Dry Lake near Princeton

Hot, dry conditions affecting containment efforts

Most Read