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

Power restored for more than 1,300 BC Hydro customers impacted by outage

Outages left hundreds of BC Hydro customers on Haida Gwaii without power on Aug. 9

From the archives of the Haida Gwaii Observer

50 YEARS AGO (1970): Fourteen sea otters — six males and eight… Continue reading

Haida Gwaii libraries resume inter-branch deliveries

Users can once again access materials from entire Vancouver Island Regional Library system

Masks mandatory in Old Massett as Haida Gwaii COVID cases total 26

Old Massett Village Council says curfew will be enforced with community service

All-Islands Protocol Table working to restore Haida place names

List of 12 priority names created; Queen Charlotte, Port Clements councils vote to support changes

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read