To the Editor,
Elimination of the Martin Mars water bomber in the Alberni Valley is an emotional pinch for the people of Port Alberni.
A forest service staff bureaucrat telling the owner of Coulson Group of Companies that “it is none of his business why the government would discontinue a forest fire fighting contract” is lacking respect. OK, so these planes lack someone’s opinion of maneuverability.
This is a further example of the shredding relationship between rural BC, and the big city valuation and the Victoria governance model.
In 1967, I was a 19-year-old logger fighting the Taylor River forest fire when both bombers flew right over our heads at 3,500 feet on a hillside above Sproat Lake. The ground shook and the smoke filled the forest as they dumped their water and went off to scoop more water from the lake. They were massive, powerful, impressive and needed.
With my family a few years later, I drove west up Sutton Pass when both mars planes roared overhead for a drop on an inaccessible mountaintop fire above the pass. Another time, along Highway 4, a mars bomber rose up directly in front of me over the trees having just loaded up from Sproat Lake. What a rush.
Ukee Days summer fair in Ucluelet, my home town, always enjoyed a demonstration water drop from the mars. During the ‘Save Clayoquot Sound’ anti logging protest in 1993, it warmed the loggers’ hearts to have the demonstration mars visit on the ‘Support the Loggers’ day.
I live in Port Alberni now and always go out on my deck to watch when a bomber flies low over the town on its way out to a fire or returning to home base. A recent cruise ship visit to Port Alberni was treated to a water drop demonstration beside the ship in the harbour.
This city and the rural BC communities built this province’s wealth. Bureaucrats and politicians must respect and honour that. Give us something we want and show respect for the millions of dollars that we sent to Victoria.