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St. Mary's heliport reopens

Air ambulance helicopters are able fly directly to and from St. Mary’s Hospital in Sechelt again.

The St. Mary’s heliport had to be shut down in 2010.  At first it was because of construction at the hospital, but when the work was done Transport Canada said the heliport couldn’t reopen because it didn’t meet their latest regulations.

The province kicked in $175-thousand to help get the heliport up to standard by having trees removed along the flight path and installing traffic control for cars and pedestrians.  That includes flashing lights and a traffic/pedestrian barricade that will come down when the heliport is being used.

“VCH worked closely with Transport Canada, the provincial government and the Sechelt Indian Band to ensure the heliport would meet the required standards and be up and running as soon as possible,” says Lauren Tindall of Vancouver Coastal Health.  “We want to thank the public for their patience.  We needed to make sure the work was complete and up to Transport Canada’s standards. I think the wait has worth it.”

While the heliport was closed patients had to be taken by ambulance to the Sechelt Airport, about 6 kilometers away.  Tindall says that didn’t have any impact on patient care.

In the case of dire emergencies, like serious car accidents, helicopters could still land as close by as safely possible.

(Photo courtesy Helijet)


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