The fundraising campaign to construct a helipad at Queen Victoria Hospital is going public.
On Monday, Nov. 7, the Revelstoke and District Health Foundation is rolling out its public fundraising initiative at an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. at the hospital.
The goal is to construct a helipad on the hospital’s east side, adjacent to the public parking lot. The helipad would be accessed by a covered walkway, also to be constructed. It’s estimated the total project will cost $465,000.
Steven Hui, spokesperson with the health foundation, said they’re already one-third of the way, with funding commitments from corporations, private individuals and non-profits in the community.
“We’ve had huge support from industry, with forestry and also tourism/heli-ski/backcountry operators,” said Hui.
Now the foundation is reaching out to residents for help.
“We’re taking it to the next level here, which is going to the public for fundraising,” said Hui. “The health foundation is working with a fundraising committee of about 12 to 15 people, and we’ve been meeting for the last four months and are about two weeks away from a public launch.”
Hui says the idea of constructing a proper helipad at the hospital has been discussed for years.
A 2010 Emergency Management BC review of the response to the March 2010 avalanche incident on Boulder Mountain highlights difficulties with the way medical helicopter evacuations are currently conducted from the airport, five minutes away, or in the hospital parking lot. It recommends an approved helipad be located at the hospital.
Hui said it wasn’t until 2015 that an effort to make the helipad a reality took off. The foundation partnered with the City of Revelstoke Tourism Infrastructure Committee to fund design/construction plans. The plans meet Transport Canada requirements.
Regarding the $465,000 cost, Hui said there’s a considerable amount of ground preparation involved for the helipad site, which measures roughly 27 metres across.
“It’s not just a small pad, and it has to be able to withstand the fairly good weight of a helicopter,” said Hui. “We’ve heard a lot of people say how can that cost so much. So we’re talking to the local suppliers and contractors and we’re getting a reasonable response from them, and people are coming forward with donations in-kind, materials and things like that. So we think we can do it for less….”
Hui is hopeful the pad will be constructed next year.
More information about the helipad project can be found at http://revelstokehealthfoundation.com/helipad/.