The Hawaii Mars, pictured, is currently stationed at Sproat Lake Provincial Park. NEWS FILE PHOTO

Alberni council proposes long-term contract for Martin Mars

Motion will be brought forward at UBCM convention in Vancouver

Port Alberni city council will be bringing forward a motion for the provincial government to enter into a long-term contract with the Martin Mars water bombers.

READ: Province says no to Hawaii Mars

Council members are currently at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Vancouver, which takes place from Sept. 25-29, and is an opportunity for members of local government across the province to come together and share their experiences.

The resolution regarding the Martin Mars was written by councillor Chris Alemany, although the idea was proposed by mayor Mike Ruttan.

“Mike [Ruttan] phoned me with the initiative to bring this forward to council,” said Alemany.

The proposed resolution urges the provincial government and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to enter into a new 10-year contract to ensure the Coulson Group will upgrade the aircrafts to meet operational requirements.

“I think there’s a need for some certainty in the future of the Mars given the summer that we’ve had,” said Alemany, adding that it would be nice for BC Fire Services to have more resources in the future. “The resolution asks for a long-term contract so that the Mars could be upgraded.”

The resolution, as well as some frequently asked questions about the Martin Mars, can be found online.

The motion will be brought to the floor on Thursday, Sept. 26. Councillors will have to ask delegates to accept the motion before it is debated. 60 percent of the room has to accept the motion before it comes forward.

“It’s a last chance to see if this new government will take a chance on the Martin Mars,” said Alemany.