Upgraded heliport unveiled at Kamloops hospital
It was just over four metres that cost $750,000, but now it's done.
Royal Inland Hospital's newly upgraded air-ambulance helipad officially opened on Tuesday, Oct. 30, on the southeast corner of the hospital grounds.
"It's critical for the time of service Royal Inland Hospital provides," said Kamloops-North Thompson Liberal MLA Terry Lake, who specifically mentioned the many far-flung, isolated parts of his constituency tough to reach by ground.
The new helipad juts out over the hillside at 17.5 metres in size, up from the outdated 13-metre landing area that lost its Transport Canada certification in 2010.
Since then, air-ambulance flights had been forced to land first at Kamloops Airport — creating a lengthy ground commute to RIH — and then at a temporary site on city-owned land on Mission Flats.
Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar, who is also chairman of the regional hospital district, said the helipad will save lives of residents who don't live close to RIH.
"It's facilities like this that do help all our regional partners in this hospital district," he said. "This is another one of those pieces that's really important."
B.C. Ambulance Service unit chief Randy MacLeod said patients who arrive by air at the new helipad will be loaded into a ground ambulance and rushed into RIH.
"Minutes saved every time we're able to land here makes a difference," he said, thanking the City of Kamloops for the temporary site at Mission Flats.
"As convenient as that was, and as close as you're able to land there, you just can't beat being able to land in the backyard.
"We're able to put patients back in the arms of their loved ones sooner and really that's why we're all here and that's what this is all about."
The new helipad was certified on Oct. 4 and has been operational since just after Thanksgiving.