Short-term solution keeps Whistler Health Care Centre helipad open for summer 

A long-term decision on trespassing traffic still needed to satisfy Transport Canada

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CLARE OGILVIE
  • Photo by Clare Ogilvie

A short-term compromise has been reached that will allow the Whistler Health Care Centre’s helipad to remain open until the fall.

The centre’s clerical aides and other staff — plus RCMP, BC Ambulance and Whistler Fire Rescue — will share duties in keeping traffic and pedestrians a safe distance from landing or departing helicopters, said Clay Adams of Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).

VCH has submitted a proposal to Transport Canada that “will get physical bodies onto the streets,” a temporary measure that has been approved by the stakeholders involved, including the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

“We got approval for a short-term plan from Transport Canada which will allow us to keep the helipad in operation until September,” Adams said.

In mid-May, Transport Canada inspectors were in Whistler to carry out an audit of the helipad’s operations and observed people not obeying traffic signals at Blackcomb Way and Lorimer Road, which are activated when a helicopter is about to land or depart.

At that time, Vancouver Coastal Health was given until July 2 to come up with a plan to address the issue by mid-August or risk the helipad being issued a notice of suspension.

Said Adams of the decision to bring in help from emergency responders and the health centre’s staff: “This points back to something that is short term vs. long term. I can’t see anyone want to commit to this ad inifinitum.”

More to come…



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