Helipad just weeks away

Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Construction of the long awaited emergency helipad could begin in as little as eight weeks as Portland District Health (PDH) makes its final submission for a licence agreement with Glenelg Shire Council.

Last Thursday, PDH Chief Executive Chris Giles had two meetings with council representatives and she said the hospital will make its final submission to lease the proposed site at the Ploughed Field in the next two weeks.

Ms Giles said final checks were being made to ensure compliance with council’s Indigenous and Cultural Heritage policies which make up the planning approvals process.

“There’s not that much left to do, we’re confident as we are working with council that we will tick all of the boxes,” Ms Giles said.

PDH Board of Management President Mike Noske said a final review of the helipad’s design was also being conducted.

Once the design is finalised, the submission made and all of the council requirements are met, the licence will be available for public comment.

Mr Noske said construction could begin immediately after this period, as long as no objections were made.

“I honestly think construction will only take two to three weeks at the most, it’s not a huge project from a construction point of view,” Mr Noske said.

Construction costs for the helipad were previously estimated at $120,000 by PDH, but Mr Noske said a figure could not be confirmed.

“I honestly couldn’t give you a number, every time we look at it, it changes,” Mr Noske said.  “And when you’re dealing with a lot of volunteer input from local communities, I think if you were trying to value everything, then the gross figure would be a lot higher, but I suspect that the net cost may finish up less,”

The Portland Branch of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation began raising money for the helipad in 2009 when PDH launched its public campaign in support of the helipad and various other community groups have since joined the fundraising effort.

The helipad will be a 15 metre square, 125mm thick concrete slab, with a 32 metre public exclusion zone in place when the pad is in use.

PDH has been consulting with Member for South West Coast, now Premier - Denis Napthine, Planning Minister – Matthew Guy, the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Ambulance Victoria, and the Glenelg Shire Council to make the helipad a reality.

Mayor Karen Stephens said the Council looked forward to receiving PDH’s submission so the community was a step closer to obtaining a helipad.

Story by Huw Cushing  Portland Observer

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