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EHS helicopters to land in new spot in Halifax

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Only a few more landings are expected at the helipad in south end Halifax.

Emergency Health Services (EHS) LifeFlight helicopters will soon be landing at Canadian Forces Base Windsor Park in the city's west end.

“It’s a fantastic location. Wide open space so for flight safety aspects. It’s already utilized as a backup landing area for the military,” says EHS senior manager Colin Flynn.

The south end helipad is on land owned by the Port of Halifax, which was leasing it to EHS. That lease will not be renewed.

The extra space will be used to expand the port's rail capacity to handle more cargo.

“Today we have about 8,000 feet of rail and that limits us to build rail in different sections,” says Jonathan Chia, PSA Halifax’s commercial head. “We have 14,000 feet of rail, that’s the equivalent to a whole train that we can build right on the dock.”

The new Windsor Park location is about the same distance to hospitals, approximately three-to-four minutes, according to Flynn.

LifeFlight landing pad in Windsor Park. (Source: Jonathan MacInnis/CTV News Atlantic)Ground level helipads are only used when landing at the receiving hospital is not possible.

“There are considerations such as weather, operational issues, if there is maintenance going on, on the helipads,” Flynn says.

Windsor Park is located within a residential neighbourhood. Brochures have been sent out advising residents of the upcoming landings. Flynn doesn't expect major disruptions even though landings can happen anytime of the day.

“Especially considering that these are critical care patients, so the sickest patients in our province that we need to get for timely interventions so I’m sure everybody would be understanding of this inconvenience,” he says. “The approach and landing does not take long. We’d be flying in, shutting down the aircraft, and then a short time later after the patient is delivered to hospital, a restart and a departure.”

The military has agreed to allow EHS to use the space for up to five years. Flynn says they're focused on finding a permanent solution within that time.

The helipad at Point Pleasant Park is expected to be in use until the fall. Emergency Health Services says they expect about 95 landings per year at the new helipad at Windsor Park.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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