Transport Canada has determined that the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District (GFPID) will not be allowed to build a helicopter site “in the location we had planned and cleared for”, Fire Chief Rick Jackson reported Oct. 3.
At the GFPID board meeting at Fire Hall #1, Jackson said the fire department’s proposed site was too close to the new heliport below the urgent treatment rooms and medical offices at the community clinic on Church Street.
“Transport Canada representatives suggest all traffic use the clinic site”, Jackson said, “and I agree. From this point on we won’t be involved in any heli-traffic, with the exception of setting up directional landing lights at the clinic, which were inadvertently omitted in the clinic heliport design. I understand they are planning on correcting that oversight when they can afford it”.
Regarding those who need access to a heliport, “the Coast Guard guy … tells me … he can land anywhere he likes”, Jackson said. He thought the same was true for the RCMP.
Asked whether the clinic helipad is big enough for the fire department’s needs, Jackson said if they have an emergency that requires a twin rotor helicopter, “then we’ll go to Rollo Park or something like that”.
He said Transport Canada was more worried that another agency might be using the helipad when it is needed by BC Ambulance. However, he said there is nothing stopping them “from coming and parking off on the side”.
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