Wayne Coulson continues to invest in the Alberni Valley with his aviation and logging divisions.

Story continues for Coulson Aviation

Coulson Aviation is looking for opportunities in the Alberni Valley that bring the same amount of success as ventures abroad.

Coulson Aviation is doubling down to look for opportunities at home that are as fruitful as those they’ve secured abroad, according to CEO Wayne Coulson.

“The Forest Service put out a request for proposal and they would give consideration to next gen airtankers,” said Coulson.

“This is a seven-year contract with three one-year extensions.”

The RFP for the 2017 firefighting season,  according to  the province, “is seeking proposals from qualified firms for the supply of up to two turbine powered airtanker(s) and one turbine powered bird dog aircraft with all personnel and supporting services in order to maintain and /or enhance wildfire control capabilities.”

The tankers must have a minimum capacity of 7,500 litres each, variable/constant flow tank, a combined capacity of between 11,000 and 19,000 litres and support, maintenance and personnel.

Coulson couldn’t comment further on his company’s bid at the time (deadline is June 22), but said that getting work in B.C. was crucial to maintaining a base here in Port Alberni.

“We love the community and I think we have full support of our community—that’s why we’re here—we need to diversify into B.C. We welcome the opportunity to bid on these upcoming contracts and we believe we’ll be successful based on nothing but performance,” said Coulson but admitted that there could be more at play in B.C. where the relationship between him and the province had become tenuous in the past few years.

“As I think it does in most countries, politics plays a big role in Canada.”

He cited the company’s success in markets like Australia and the United States, including a recent U.S. Forest Service contract to outfit C-130s with tanking systems.

“If we stand back for a second, we’re a Canadian company in the United States. We’re the only Canadian company in the United States. We didn’t get contracts because of politics, we got contracts because of performance. And the same holds true in Australia. I’m not sure the same holds true here and that will be the test to B.C.—are we going to be able to build a contract based on performance and not on politics.”

But even without B.C jumping on board, deals that have been years in the making could pay off bigtime for both Coulson and Port Alberni now.

Coulson Aviation signed a memorandum of understanding to provide the tanking system for Airbus’ C295W’s back in late 2015.

(Story continues below)

That relationship with Airbus, Coulson said, positions Port Alberni well if Airbus is to win a federal government search and rescue contract being bid on now.

According to feds, the new planes will replace CC-115 Buffalo aircraft and 13 CC-130H Hercules and the contract will be award in late 2016 or early 2017.

It’s multiyear deals like that, Coulson said, that are the bread-and-butter of the Coulson Group’s successful aviation arm.

“There’s no such thing as overnight success. All of these bigger projects are multiyear and we have many multiyear projects that we work on all the time,” he said, but noted that there’s always an element of risk with reaching out.

“I would think for the most part, probably seven or eight fail and one or two come through. And I don’t think that’s different. When you’re an entrepreneur you’re always looking for new opportunities to build your story.”

Sometimes however, those relationships can pay off in a big way.

“ [The deal with] Airbus has been three-and-a-half years…the relationship you make every meeting is a building block into the foundation of that relationship.”

If Airbus were to win that search and rescue contract, they would be required to spend around $3 billion somewhere in Canada.

“They’ve only placed a billion of it. Airbus has got $1.5-2 billion [of investment] that is going to go somewhere in Canada and should go right here in Port Alberni,” said Coulson. The currently expanding Alberni Valley Regional Airport makes it possible for Port Alberni to become Airbus’ western Canadian hub.

“That’s not just good for us or the community, it’s also good for the Island. So many small businesses would be able to benefit from an Airbus presence on the West Coast.”

As fire seasons worldwide get longer and government budgets grow, there’s a lot in the wings for Coulson in the coming  months and years.

“We’re always out there looking for contracts,” he said.

“We love Port Alberni so we’re always going to have a presence in Port Alberni.”

reporter@albernivalleynews

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

Just Posted

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District approves one cannabis store, denies another

Stores would have been located across the street from one another in Cherry Creek

UPDATED: Taylor Flats wildfire in the Alberni Valley under control

Fire is located close to Highway 4 near Sproat Lake

EDITORIAL: Plastics ban needs to start from the top

The more people talk about the plastics ban, the more it may catch on elsewhere…

West Coast Amateur in Port Alberni a success

Top overall winner, with a gross score of 140, was Derek Reid from Arbutus Ridge

ARTS AROUND: Last call for cruise ship vendors

Last cruise ship arrives in the Alberni Inlet on July 6

VIDEO: Sproat Lake Fire Department demonstrates sprinkler safety

Demonstration only took 3-5 minutes to create a deadly scenario where no one could survive

Tax credits, penalizing big polluters, key to Conservative climate plan

Canada’s commitment is to cut emissions to 70 per cent of what they were in 2005 before 2030

Comox Samaritan covers bear with blanket, gets a big surprise

Conservation officer says person lucky after animal hit by car in record year for bear encounters

Victoria double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst found no shoe prints on scene

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Channel your inner pirate in epic Canada-wide treasure hunt

200 treasure chests hidden among trails and waterways, lots of prizes to be claimed

Most Read