By Stan Ashbee
More than $640,000 will be spent on upgrades to the helipad at the Taber Health Centre, which includes laying down new concrete to expand the footprint of the pad and installing new LED lights — it was stated in a recent media release.
The new heliport will now accommodate any medium-sized helicopter. Construction was scheduled to begin May 27 and is expected to be completed in fall 2021.
“No matter where you live in the province, it’s important your health care needs can be met, as close to home as possible,” stated Tyler Shandro, minister of Health.
It was pointed out a further $2.2 million of government funding has recently supported other upgrades at the health centre, including repairs to a boiler, and upgrades to the parking lot, security, lighting and heating systems.
“We are pleased to have these funds going into the health care system,” noted Grant Hunter, MLA for Taber-Warner. “Investments like these in rural Alberta play an important part in ensuring Albertans have access to health care facilities that are safe and secure; places that provide high-quality care when they or their loved ones are sick or injured.”
Some funding for these projects came from the Government of Alberta’s Infrastructure Maintenance Program (IMP) and provincial grants. With the Budget 2021 Capital Plan, the Government of Alberta has committed $343 million over the next three years to the Infrastructure Maintenance Program (IMP) for infrastructure at health facilities across the province.
“Projects like these help maintain our facilities and ensure our patients stay well,” added Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of AHS. “So it is vital we keep our health care infrastructure current and up-to-date.”
According to the media release, the helipad at Taber Health Centre will be temporarily closed during construction. During the closure, air ambulance helicopters will land at the Taber airport, only five minutes away, and patients will be transported to and from hospital by ground ambulance. “This is a safe and common practice in other communities across the province. This practice has been safely used in Taber before, as well.”