General News · 27th June 2012
Cortes Island Firefighting Association (CIFA) received $3,180 through Community Investment’s regional donations in support of the installation of a 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, Vancouver Island Community Relations Manager.
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, to Cortes Island.
Scott McLean, Field Manager, at the Campbell River District Office, recalled a storm that occurred on Christmas Eve 2010, where the crew was able to restore power more quickly on Christmas morning thanks to the existing helipad, which allowed the crew to complete a helipatrol 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. Being that we house a bucket truck and service truck on Cortes Island, the additional helipad gives us another option of where to land a helicopter to offload crews to begin storm repairs as early as possible,” explained Scott.
Above: Scott, Ben and Bertha survey the area where the new helipad will go.