Your article on the Whistler Helipad (“Helipad's landing status remains a concern”, Oct. 11) may leave some people with the belief that Whistler/Blackcomb is at risk because the new helipad is no longer rated for single-engine helicopters. We want to reassure residents and visitors to the community that this is not the case.
When Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) was required by Transport Canada to upgrade the helipad to meet new regulations, it did so to the standards necessary to meet the needs of the multi-engine air-ambulance and other twin-engine helicopters that serve the Whistler Health Care Centre.
Whistler/Blackcomb is currently supported by four multi-engine helicopters that can be used for evacuation from the mountain. Should single-engine certification become a requirement for the new helipad, a thorough analysis would be needed. Discussion and partnership with the Resort Municipality of Whistler would be necessary to ensure appropriate public consultation and approval of any further tree removal, streetlight and intersection modifications, and other structural changes to enlarge the flight path for single engine helicopters.
VCH remains committed to maintaining high quality care in Whistler and it is important for the community to know that patient safety has not been compromised because we have moved to — and met — new federal standards and regulations. VCH remains proud of the care delivered at the Whistler Health Care Centre and the excellent safety record of Whistler/Blackcomb.
We also want to remind the community of the importance of respecting the pedestrian and vehicle control systems installed as part of the helipad upgrades. Transport Canada has stipulated that adhering to these controls is essential to keeping the helipad certified and operational and we appreciate the cooperation of the community in doing so.
Executive Director, Quality & Risk Management
Lower Mainland Facilities Management (for Vancouver Coastal Health)