Helipad on the way for Elkford

Ian Benson from the Bearspaw “Community First” Society (BCFS) presented Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher with a cheque for $95,000.

Ian Benson (left) of Bearspaw “Community First” presented Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher (right) and Elkford Fire Chief Bernie Van Tighem with a $95

Ian Benson (left) of Bearspaw “Community First” presented Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher (right) and Elkford Fire Chief Bernie Van Tighem with a $95

Ian Benson from the Bearspaw “Community First” Society (BCFS)  presented Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher with a cheque for $95,000 at the October 28 council meeting.

All the funds were raised from a golf tournament and will be put towards the construction of a helipad in Elkford.

The BCFS hosted their first annual Charity Golf Tournament in July to raise funds for the Elkford Helipad.  With the help of volunteers, participants, and sponsorships, the event was a success.

“Their donation is very generous and will assist greatly in the construction of a helipad in Elkford,” said McKerracher.

McKerracher thanked the Society for all their time and efforts in hosting such a fabulous event, and is looking forward to the next one.

The helipad will be constructed in 2014 behind the Elkford Fire Hall at 2300 Balmer Street.

“The District of Elkford will not know the actual costs until the engineering is done; however, depending upon the level of local contractor support they are estimating between $100,000 to $150,000,” said Garity Stanley, Director of Leisure Services.

The local helipad located beside the Elkford Healthcare Centre has been decommissioned by Transport Canada leaving Elkford with no identified location for STARS or any other medi-vac to land. Licensing requirements from Transport Canada mandate an engineered site, operational and emergency plans as well as an engineered flight plan that will allow STARS and other medi-vacs to land in the evening and during severe weather conditions.

The inspector from Transport Canada identified the Elkford Fire Hall location as optimum due to the location being free from overhead obstructions and with many flight plan options. Not only does having a helipad in Elkford reduce transport time for critically injured persons, but it also benefits Elkford Search and Rescue and the RCMP Detachment, which is adjacent to the site. The District of Elkford Emergency Management Operations would also benefit from this location beside the Fire Hall in the event of a serious incident requiring helicopter support such as flooding or wildfires.

“Bearspaw Construction had a vision of doing a community program to raise money for local needs,” said Benson. “Our definition of community is the Elk Valley and Crowsnest Pass as our employees are from all towns in the area. Through some great organizing from Monique Lee, Garity Stanley, Rocky and Michelle Culver, our local Fire Chief Bernie Van Tighem, and Jer Rodd, we were able to put this together in a very short order. With our many contacts we gained some great corporate sponsorship from Teck, EKCCU, Finning, RKMS, The Free Press, The Keg Corp., ITHS, Beachcomber Hot Tubs in Cranbrook, just to name a few.”

“We look forward to taking the momentum from this tournament and building on the next. We are planning a committee meeting December 3 in Elkford.”

“We are also reaching out to the communities to see if there is something that is in need. Our committee was small last year but was such a great committee we need to find some more volunteers going forward.”

If anyone is interested please contact Ian Benson at i.benson@bearspawcontracting.com.