Practice flights are occurring at both the Comox Valley (pictured) and Campbell River hospitals to prepare for full functionality of the heliports by the end of summer. Photo by Island Health

Heliports certified at Comox Valley, Campbell River hospitals

Both sites should see heliports up and running by late summer

By the end of summer, patients in hospital in the Comox Valley and Campbell River will have an additional service at both facilities, as Transport Canada has certified both rooftop heliports with H1 classifications.

Tom Sparrow, chief project officer with the North Island Hospital Project, said both heliports were certified on June 8, and activation work is now underway to prepare for full functionality.

“This is the final steps in our projection for completion,” he noted and added Helijet will be performing test flights and operational and clinical staff will be working to ensure all employees understand the procedures surrounding helipad operations.

The 153-bed Comox Valley campus along with a 95-bed facility in Campbell River is part of the North Island Hospitals Project; the combined cost of the project was $606.2 million. Both facilities opened in fall 2017.

While both hospitals have been operational since last year, the helipads at both facilities were not certified for operation.

At the official opening of the Comox Valley campus in November, B.C. Premier John Horgan said the province was awaiting Transport Canada’s deliberations on what classification would be given to both facilities.

Canadian heliports have three classifications, explained Sparrow; the classification determines the type of helicopter that can use the heliports.

H1 classification is when a heliport is located in an environment where there is no emergency landing area with 625 metres of the landing pad. An H1 helicopter must be multi-engine and capable of remaining at least 4.5 metres above all obstacles with one engine not in operation.

H2 classification is when a heliport is located in an environment where there are emergency landing areas within 625 metres of the landing pad. An H2 helicopter must be multi-engine and capable of reaching an emergency landing area with one engine not in operation.

H3 classification is a pad located in an obstacle environment, and are reachable by a single-engine helicopter in autorotation (engine failure).

Sparrow said when the request for proposals was issued in 2012, the understanding was the site would be classified as H2.

“Since that went out, the landmarks have changed … because of the amount of community development which has gone up around the hospital. This is happening right across Canada – we’re not being targeted. Transport Canada has specific guidelines which focuses entirely on the safety of those flying the helicopters, the paramedics on board, the patients and those living around the site.”

Once the helipads at both sites are up and running, Sparrow noted patients can expect improved service with patient transfers in addition to organ transplant services.

Air ambulance transport in the Comox Valley has been diverted to the Courtenay Air Park during the day and the Comox Valley Airport at night.

In Campbell River (since 2014), the Campbell River Airport has been used for air ambulance transport.

Just Posted

Dippity doo-dah; Campbell River Rotary Duck Dip winners scooped up

Fundraiser for Head Injury Support Society’s Linda’s Place

BC Hydro to pulse water flows down the Elk Falls Canyon to accommodate fish passage

First pulse is today and tomorrow; Hydro warns people to be cautious upstream of Elk Falls

Union says mediated negotiation with WFP has been ‘disappointing’

Striking forestry workers have been on picket lines since Canada Day

The conflicting ideas of economy and ecology examined in Ellingsen’s work

Artist talk for photographic exhibition The Last Stand is part of this weekend’s Art & Earth Festival

Shambala named best music festival in North America

Shambala Music Festival is held at the Salmo River Ranch in B.C.

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Busy month of August for Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society

The following is a monthly update providing readers with a glimpse of… Continue reading

Break out the tiki torches: Open fires allowed again in B.C.’s coastal region

All open fires allowed effective at noon on Sept. 18

Most Read