So far this season in Whistler the air ambulance has been needed six times to drag very injured people off of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It seems that this is a fairly high number for so early in the season, and all of these evacuations have been launched from the municipal helipad located north of Whistler instead of the usual helipad at the Whistler Health Car Centre.
This hasn’t hindered any rescue efforts, but it is noteworthy that the helipad at the Whistler Health Care Centre was supposed to be open on Dec. 16 after a scheduled Transport Canada inspection. This newest delay comes after the pad was originally supposed to be operational by late November, only to be setback because of the storms during that same time.
Vancouver Coastal Health is the organization that is responsible for the recent renovations to the helipad. After an important piece of snow-melting equipment was not ready in time for the already scheduled inspection with Transport Canada however, Vancouver Coastal Health went through with the inspection knowing what the result would be but hoping for some helpful feedback from the inspector anyway. Vancouver Coastal Health saw this delay as an opportunity to improve their helipad project and thanks to a cooperative Transport Canada inspector some other minor issues were addresses that will only ensure a passing grade in the January inspections.
“When we found out it wasn’t going to be complete we didn’t call off the inspection because we wanted the inspector to check out the other parts of the system to determine if there were any other oversights or anything else that we might have missed.” – Vancouver Coastal Health
The helipad is now expected to open in mid-January.