B.C. municipalities vote against Martin Mars contract

B.C. municipalities vote against Martin Mars contract

The Martin Mars seen in the Alberni Valley in July 2017.

Municipalities in British Columbia have decided not to ask the province to sign a 10-year deal with Coulson Flying Tankers to maintain the Martin Mars water bomber.

The City of Port Alberni had put forward a resolution at this week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention to ask the provincial government for a 10-year contract with Coulson Group and for Coulson to upgrade the aircraft to meet operational requirements.

The resolution was turned down by municipal leaders following a debate.

The Martin Mars, which is based in the Alberni Valley, was built in 1946 and is one of the largest fixed-wing water bombers in the world. It has a capacity of more than 27,000 but can only land on and scoop up water from 113 water bodies in the province that are big enough to accommodate the aircraft. Other amphibious planes are able to get water from 1,700 water bodies.

The B.C. government’s previous contract with Coulson expired in 2013. The aircraft was not used during the record-breaking wildfire season this year.

With files from CBC

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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