BC Hydro field manager Scott McLean (right) presents a cheque to Ben Fulton and Bertha Jeffery of the Cortes Island Firefighters Association. The money will help build a new helipad beside firehall #2 in Whaletown.

Helipad to improve safety response on Cortes Island

A donation of $3,180 from BC Hydro will help the Cortes Island Firefighting Association build a new helipad

A donation of $3,180 from BC Hydro will help the Cortes Island Firefighting Association build a new helipad.

“The addition of a helipad will help improve safety and reliability on Cortes Island, ensuring that our customers receive the services they need,” said Ted Olynyk, spokesperson for BC Hydro.

There is currently no helicopter access to the north end of Cortes Island. The firefighting association is installing a helipad next to Fire Hall #2 in Whaletown.

Once complete, it will mainly be used for emergency services (ambulance, RCMP, etc.) but will also be made available to BC Hydro for delivering crews and equipment when needed.

Scott McLean, a BC Hydro field manager at the Campbell River District Office, recalled a storm that occurred on Christmas Eve 2010. The crew was able to restore power more quickly on Christmas morning thanks to the existing helipad, which allowed the crew to complete a heli-patrol and then start the applicable isolation of the circuit, while the second crew travelled over with materials and trucks.

“In order to travel to Cortes from Campbell River, the crew needs to take two separate ferries, which takes a couple hours, and during a storm the ferries are frequently shut down,” said McLean. “…the additional helipad gives us another option of where to land a helicopter to offload crews.”