Grand Forks has new hospital heliport
Landing on dirt and grass is no longer necessary for helicopters when they land at the Grand Forks hospital.
The Boundary Hospital officially opened it’s Heliport on Monday, to a small crowd of local stakeholders and onlookers.
“Paramedics are already happy they don’t have to push through the dirt,” said Ingrid Hampf, Acute Area Director for Interior Health Kootenay-Boundary.
Hampf emceed the ceremony and had plenty of praise for the Clifton family who donated $200,000 for the heliport.
“This is a tremendous asset to the hospital,” she said.
The idea for the heliport was initated when Jean Clifton, now deceased, approached Hampf and told her she wanted to donate money to the hospital but that she wanted to ensure that the money was used for something significant, and that it stayed in Grand Forks.
Hampf held onto the money until they new how to use it. During that time, the Clifton’s ended up making more sizable donations, including a final donation from their estate when Jean and her husband Gordon passed away. The total was $200,000.
This is going to be a lasting legacy for them, said Hampf. People have already benefitted from this and they will continue to do so.
Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson also spoke at the opening ceremony.
“This is going to give timely access to life saving supports,” she said. “As MLA I’m excited to see improvements like this.”
There was plenty of praise for the both the Clifton family and also how the heliport would improve services at the hospital.
Interior Healthy Authority (IHA) board member Glenn Sutherland said, “This is about getting patients to the right care, in the right facility in the right amount of time.”
He added that it compliments some of the existing services at the hospital – like the heart team – and that connections between medical facilities in rural BC are critical in getting people the help they need.
The Clifton family was also represented at the event.
“My parents were dedicated to this community and wanted to ensure that their donation would benefit the people of this valley, and that Interior Health would use the funds to improve health care at Boundary Hospital,” said Ron Clifton, Gordon and Jean’s son who attended the opening with his wife Linda. “We believe this heliport achieves their vision.”
Construction of the heliport started in June and Transport Canada certified it on Sept. 25. It is 27-metres in diametre and is located across the parking lot from the emergency doors at the hospital – in the same area where helicopters previously landed.