Invermere helipad still a grounded issue

The future of the Invermere District Hospital's closed helipad still appears to be murky.

  • May. 10, 2011 9:00 a.m.

A Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board meeting took place on May 6, following the Regional District of East Kootenay meeting. Two representatives from Interior Health (IH) were present to give updates on several helipad sites, including the long-closed helipad at the Invermere District Hospital.

The Invermere helipad still remains closed to landings at this time, according to the official report.

IH is still walking through an request for proposal process for new residential beds for the Columbia Garden Village and a final decision cannot be made on the helipad’s situation until the RFP process is complete.

The new residential beds’ building is being built on land that could impact the flight path.

This news concerned District of Invermere (DOI) Mayor Gerry Taft, who was present for the May 6 meeting.

“The land which that building was located on, was sold by IH to the private entities which developed the Columbia Gardens seniors housing complex,” said Taft. “As far as I know, at the time that the land was sold by IH there was never any consideration regarding the potential for impact to flight paths and helicopter services.”

IH has issued an RFP for private and non-profit entities to construct and operate the much-needed 34 long-term care beds which are still slated to be built in Invermere.

Taft explained that the most likely entity to submit a proposal, and the most likely location, was on the vacant land beside the Columbia Garden Village – the land that may obscure the helipad flight path.

“I am concerned that there is even a question or even the potential that IH could fund a capital program that would further restrict the flight path and potentially cause the permanent closure of the heliport – especially considering the potential that IH could build and operate the 34 beds themselves by expanding the existing Columbia House facility to the north of the hospital,” said Taft.

Taft also raised the question of IH’s priorities during the meeting, as there was some concern that IH was placing more priority on helipads that brought patients into a facility for treatment rather than out, while the Invermere District Hospital had a historical record of moving patients out to other facilities for care.

“During meetings that I and members of DOI council had with IH President and CEO Dr. Halpenny, and board chair Norman Embree, during the Union of British Columbia Municipalities meetings in Whistler last September, there was mention of the volume of patients being brought into hospitals such as the East Kootenay Regional Hospital and the impression was left that these hospitals would be the first priority of IH for helipad upgrades,” said Taft.

Taft had concluded at the meeting with the comment that patients being sent out are just as important as those coming in.

Unfortunately, at this time the DOI is waiting for the results of the RFP process.

IH and STARS have formed a contingency plan in the meantime that uses the Invermere District Hospital airport for helicopter landings and departures, and ground ambulances to move patients from the hospital to the airport.

 

Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read