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Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis along with members of the Maclean Rotary Club, hospital staff and health district workers gathered last Wednesday, to view the demolition of the original Maclean Hospital helipad. The construction of a stronger helipad was needed to meet the engineering guidelines for the larger Westpac Rescue Helicopters, which are now in use. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Work begins on Maclean Helipad

Lynne Mowbray |

Work commenced last week to demolish the original helipad at the Maclean Hospital site to make way for the construction of a bigger and stronger helipad.

The original helipad was closed in 2017, as it no longer met the safety and engineering guidelines for the larger helicopters which had been introduced by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said in his media release that the ‘construction of the new helipad will commence following the approval of structural designs and a tender process which is being conducted by the Northern NSW Local Health District.’

‘The new helipad will comply with aviation safety and engineering guidelines, providing retrieval services for Maclean residents right on the hospital’s doorstep,’ Mr Gulaptis said.

Manager Capital, Assets & Resources Northern NSW Area Health District, Peter Cleary said that it would take about a week to demolish the existing helipad.

“There’s a design process that’s being completed at the moment with the engineers, that will be finished in the next one to two weeks and then we tender that out to the market,” Mr Cleary said.

“That process should take about two or three weeks and we’re looking to start (the construction of the new helipad) by the end of March early April.

“We’re looking to be finished by June 30 – the middle of the year. It will take about three to four months to complete it,” he said.

Mr Cleary said that the materials from the original helipad have all been recycled.

“When we tendered for the demolition contractors it was their right to reuse the materials; which they’re going to do,” Mr Cleary said.

“So, by them being able to reuse the materials, that reduced the price of the tender,” he said.

Maclean Rotary President Anne Farrell said that she was happy to see that work had finally begun on the new helipad.

“The demolishing of the old helipad has to happen to make way for the new helipad,” Mrs Farrell said.

“It’s just wonderful to see that it’s actually happening,” she said.