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Workers conducted geotechnical works at the Maclean helipad site last week. Image: Lynne Mowbray”.

Early works commence on helipad replacement

Geoff Helisma |

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis’s office has confirmed that workers were onsite at the Maclean District Hospital’s helipad last week, to commence work on its long-awaited replacement.

A spokesperson for Mr Gulaptis said that the Northern NSW Local Health District’s chief executive, Wayne Jones, “confirmed that geotechnical works are occurring onsite in order to finalise the tender brief”.

The existing helipad was decommissioned in May 2017, when an independent safety audit had found Maclean District Hospital’s helipad did not meet new safety engineering guidelines, following the implementation of a new rescue service that used heavier helicopters.

The NSW Government has pledged to contribute $400,000 towards the new helipad.

The balance of the $750,000 project was bequeathed by the trustee for the deceased estate of Maclean philanthropists Merv and Yuki Sheehan.

Mr Gulaptis has previously stated that “funding of the helipad is not an election commitment”.

Meanwhile, federal Labor candidate for Page, Patrick Deegan, has previously promised to fund the entire project if his party is elected to government, when he said: “While we welcome the NSW Government following our lead … we question … [why] the NSW Government hasn’t committed to funding the full project.

“If they don’t build the helipad, a Shorten-[led] Labor government will.

“We will provide the full $750,000.”

Mr Gulaptis’s spokesperson said the community could expect an update on the project’s progress sometime in February.