The Hawaii Mars in action over Sproat Lake in Port Alberni. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

The Hawaii Mars in action over Sproat Lake in Port Alberni. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

LETTER: Sale of Hawaii Mars presents an opportunity

This amazing aircraft is at the heart of Port Alberni’s history and identity…

To the Editor,

The Hawaii Mars water bomber, a Port Alberni icon, is for sale. This amazing aircraft is at the heart of Port Alberni’s history and identity.

If there is one icon (other then the ever-belching stacks at the pulp mill) that our town identifies with, it is this incredible aircraft.

I really think the powers that be in Port Alberni need to put their respective minds together in a concerted effort to see that the Hawaii Mars remains with the people who love and cherish her.

Promoted properly, she would be formidable tourist attraction, at least on par with McLean Mill. I’m not sure that the Hawaii Mars would qualify as a National Historic Site, but properly situated near the downtown core—possibly on the property that was formerly home to the huge Somass Mill shed—she might. Her presence would be a boon to a downtown that has fallen on hard times.

Funding for the purchase might be available through grants from the provincial and federal governments or corporate donations.

One only needs to look at McLean Mill to see what could be accomplished. Let’s not let this golden opportunity slip through our fingers.

Wayne Hiebert,

Port Alberni

Port Alberni