UBCM – Civic reps turn thumbs down on bringing back ‘iconic’ water bomber

Martin Mars water bomber.

Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD

The famous Martin Mars water bomber won’t be dousing the flames of B.C.’s wildfires any time soon, if civic leaders have anything to say about it.

On the last day of the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual convention in Vancouver on Friday, (Sept. 29, 2017), a late resolution proposed that the provincial government sign a 10-year contract with Coulson Group, the owner of the Martin Mars.

The motion said the Martin Mars bombers, of which there are few left, “are the largest water scoopers in the world with unique and complimentary capabilities to other aircraft and 54 years of service.”

The B.C. government hasn’t hired the plane to fight fires since 2013. The proposed resolution called on the government to put the Martin Mars in the air again as long as it meets operational requirements.

Debate mirrored social media arguments throughout the province over the summer. One mayor called the huge water bomber “iconic,” while another said, “We cannot marginalize the sense of security that this plane gives people.”

But still another said, “It looks good, it impresses people, but it’s not the best use of our resources.”

Things got a little heated when Strathcona Regional District Director Jim Abram, a member of the UBCM executive, called arguments against using the Martin Mars “silly” and “frivolous.”

However, he failed to convince most of the delegates, who defeated the motion handily.

About Mel Rothenburger (6108 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on UBCM – Civic reps turn thumbs down on bringing back ‘iconic’ water bomber

  1. Consider how far the elephant hill fire would have gone if the Mars Bomber had been on call.What expertise did the UBCM call on to render thier verdict of death to the big ships?.California uses converted 747 to do the same job and they are not scoopers they have to be loaded at an airstrip,They may be faster but the cost per gallon delivered to the fire is nearly the same,

  2. I’m starting to think that the UBCM is not relevant any more, and a huge waste of our tax dollars. It seems to be nothing more than a vacation on our dime.

  3. Why was this motion even considered? Do the delegates at the convention have any expertise in fighting wild fires? Do they have training and experience in tactical decision making as to which pieces of equipment and personnel should be deployed for various fire situations? Of course not. The Mars bombers are tactical pieces of equipment and the decision to utilise them should be left to the professionals that we have employed to do just that. It is silly that it was even discussed.

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