Construction on Bowmanville Hospital temporary helipad to begin this spring

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Published January 5, 2022 at 3:24 pm

Photo Colin Williamson

A new helipad will be built on Haines Street in Bowmanville this spring, a long-overdue temporary replacement for the rooftop pad at Bowmanville Hospital that was closed more than three years ago because of safety concerns.

The site for the temporary heliport is on Clarington-owned land and was approved a year ago, with construction initially scheduled for last summer. The project, however, never got off the ground in 2021 and Lakeridge Health is currently looking for a builder to get it done as quickly as possible.

“Currently, the project is out for construction tender,” said Lakeridge Health Public Relations & Digital Communications Manager Sharon Navarro, who added that the tender closes in mid-January. “We anticipate construction on the temporary helipad to begin in early Spring 2022.”

Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster said he was pleased the project is finally going to get done but noted the inability to get the work started last year was an “exercise in frustration” and said the many layers of bureaucracy involved contributed to the delays.

Lakeridge Health had been working with ORNGE Air Ambulance Service, as well as municipal, provincial, and federal government partners on securing a location, funding, and capital approvals for a temporary heliport site in Bowmanville since the rooftop helipad closed in September 2018.

This temporary site will accommodate emergency air transportation until a permanent rooftop helipad is completed as part of the Bowmanville Hospital redevelopment plan.

In the meantime, emergency services and Air ORNGE have been forced to use Oshawa Airport as a jumping off point to get critically ill patients to urgent care facilities, adding unnecessary minutes to travel time.

The Health Ministry announced funding to move forward with the development of a temporary heliport site last January and identified and endorsed the site on Haines Street, a five-minute drive from the hospital, as the location.

The site is located in an open field on the west side of Haines Street, east of Soper Creek Forest, south of the Bowmanville Cemetery, and north of existing warehousing. This site is within the municipality’s existing ‘General Industrial’ land use designation.

A feasibility assessment has ensured the future heliport meets all safety requirements and technical standards for both ORNGE and Transport Canada. The heliport will be operated by Lakeridge Health and will be used exclusively to accommodate emergency medical air transportation by helicopter to and from the Bowmanville Hospital. Helicopters may approach or depart the heliport in any direction depending on weather conditions.

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