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.

Just Posted

Shelter access moving to the side of the building in Chilliwack on the heels of complaints

Renos to The Portal will see new bunk beds, indoor washrooms and a review of security and cleaniness

Drivers warn of slippery conditions on the Coquihalla

Snow is falling at the Summit of the Coquihalla

Rotarians digging in for new tree planting project

Trees will be a way to honour loved ones through Chilliwack

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

UFV bans cash after accepting 17 payments over $10k last year

Ban on cash payments follows report warning of potential money laundering through universities

VIDEO: First all-female spacewalk team makes history

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did work on International Space Station’s power grid

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

$50,000 reward for ‘extremely violent’ South Surrey murder suspect renewed

Offer for information on Brandon Teixeira to remain in effect through April, 2020

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read