Helipad closed for a month for more work 

Single engine (H3) inspection to come after H1 and H2 approval

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CLARE OGILVIE - flights grounded The Whistler Health Care Centre helipad will be closed for roughly four weeks.
  • Photo by clare ogilvie
  • flights grounded The Whistler Health Care Centre helipad will be closed for roughly four weeks.

The helipad at the Whistler Health Care Centre will be closed in the coming weeks as work gets underway for a permanent, fully operational medical helipad. The helipad will be closed for roughly four weeks.

"All efforts will be made to possibly shorten this closure timeframe if at all possible," said Viola Kaminski, public affairs officer with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), in an email.

The construction work will include sidewalk removal around the helipad, fence installation and re-vegetation. It is hoped this will end the logistical issues plaguing the helipad these past four years, ever since Transport Canada mandated various upgrades.

When the work is completed in late October, Transport Canada will be invited for a formal H1 and H2 inspection.

The work, which includes topping and removing trees in the day lots because of the flight paths, will also allow single-engine H3 helicopters to land on site. Single engines are commonly used in the mountains to evacuate injured people.

"They will need to return at a later date to provide a formal H3 inspection, but VCH will look to expedite the date of this inspection as best we can," said Kaminski.

The work will cost more than $600,000 and it is hoped it will solve the problems at the beleaguered helipad, which has been upgraded to the tune of $1 million in recent years but failed inspection. Most recently, medical staff and volunteers have been operating the helipad using temporary measures to halt traffic and pedestrians in the area. H3 helicopters have not been able to land.

VCH and the Sea to Sky Regional Hospital District as well as the Whistler Health Care Foundation will share the cost of the upgrades.

Meadow Park Sports Centre life cycle report

The municipality is paying $30,000 for a comprehensive life-cycle report of the Meadow Park Sports Centre.

This week a Request For Proposals (RFP) was posted to the municipality's website.

It is looking for "a comprehensive and detailed report to be used by RMOW staff as a guideline for equipment and structural replacement over time."

When asked if this is being done in light of the multi-million roof upgrades, presented to council out of the blue in July, Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said: "This apparently is done on a regular basis... so that's even more surprising with respect to the roof, that it wasn't picked up."

On the other hand, she added, the facility is an important piece of public infrastructure with its public pool, squash courts, gym facility and ice rink. As such, it gets a lot of wear and tear.

"It's a very important asset to the community," said Wilhelm-Morden.

The life-cycle report will include an estimated date when the entire facility, or major portions such as the pool and arena, will need to be replaced. That will include associated construction costs including demolition, site remediation and construction management. The RFP closing date is Oct. 16.

Whistler readies for the 'Big One'

There's a two per cent chance Whistler will be struck with a big earthquake in the next 50 years and the municipality isn't taking any chances.

It has posted a Request For Proposals for an earthquake hazard identification survey. The survey will take into account the non-structural components at municipal hall and will cost $15,000.

The RFP states: "Recent earthquakes have demonstrated the severe consequences of failure of nonstructural components upon life safety, property damage, and economic loss. It has been well documented that many building structures have survived an earthquake with no structural damage but the facilities are rendered unusable due to extensive nonstructural damage."

Any hazards outlined in the report which require capital upgrades will likely be considered in the 2015 budget, said the mayor.

"Once this is done at municipal hall, some of the other municipal buildings will be looked at as well," she added.

The RFP closes on Oct. 14.


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