Heliport eyed here

Local stakeholders are investigating the possibility of building a heliport in Fort Frances for medical transfers.
Dan McCormick, health services manager for the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, noted Friday that a preliminary meeting was held in June to discuss the feasibility of the project.
Representatives from the local DSSAB, Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc., the Town of Fort Frances, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Fort Frances Fire and Rescue, Fort Frances Ambulance, Canadian Helicopters, and Abitibi-Consolidated met June 22 and generally were in favour of the heliport.
“We’re still in a proposal stage,” McCormick stressed. “We don’t even have a cost analysis.”
Transport Canada is expected to come to town later this month for a preliminary site inspection.
“We are seeking to build near the [La Verendrye] hospital location,” McCormick said. “It would speed up transfers both in and out of the district, and would mean a lot less movement for the patient.”
Currently, local patients who need to be transferred by helicopter must be transported to the airport by ambulance.
McCormick said a heliport was part of the first draft of the waterfront development project from a few years ago, but was removed from later drafts.
The DSSAB decided to resurrect the proposal. “We’re just sort of bringing it back to the table and saying we think this is a good idea,” he remarked.
Once Transport Canada approves a site, the stakeholders will begin looking at cost analysis and exploring available grants.

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