WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – When Chris Alemany asked the world to sign his petition supporting the Martin Mars waterbomber working on B.C. forest fires, he never thought more than 1,000 people would sign.
A week after posting his petition on change.org, the Port Alberni man has collected almost 19,000 signatures.
The Province of B.C. did not renew a five year contract with the Coulson Group, the owners of the Martin Mars, to keep the planes on standby. Instead of paying $750,000 a year, the Province wanted the planes to take action when needed. The Coulson group declined.
The B.C. government believe the contract for service of four Air Tractor AT-802F Fire Boss amphibious airtanks are more efficient, both in operation and cost. They issued a factsheet disputing the claims made by the petition organizer.
Alemany says the government should consider the Martin Mars as another tool to help save homes and lives during the wildfire season and says the petition shows British Columbians agree.
Premier Christy Clark was not in her constituency office to receive the petition.