Hawaii Mars could stay in the city

Another attempt is being made at keeping the water bomber in Alberni.

One of Wayne Coulson’s iconic Martin Mars waterbombers may yet stay in Port Alberni. Stacey Gaiga, who fought to keep the planes here seven years ago, came to city council on Monday, Sept. 8 with two proposals aimed at keeping the recently-retired Hawaii Mars in the city.

The Hawaii Mars could become a static museum display here in Port Alberni as an extension of a museum elsewhere, she said. This way, the city would not have to foot any of the costs.

The second option would be to apply to make the Hawaii Mars a cultural property option through Heritage Canada, which would involve Coulson donating the plane to the city in return for a tax receipt for the full value of the plane. He would be able to use 100 per cent of that tax receipt within the next five years.

Coulson had said previously that he would be willing to sell the plane to the city for $3 million.While Gaiga hasn’t spoken with Coulson about her specific plan, she said she was hopeful that he would at least consider the proposal.

“I would think that Mr. Coulson would consider a taxable recipt from Revenue Canada,” Gaiga told council, adding that Coulson has expressed a desire to see the plane stay here in Port Alberni but isn’t able to donate it without getting a return on his investestment.

Coulson’s second waterbomber, Philippine Mars, is promised to an Florida aviation museum.

Coun. Cindy Solda expressed hesitation over Coulson not being apprised of Gaiga’s plans and urged Gaiga to meet with him first.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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