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“It’s definitely not going to go away,” he says. “Don’t worry. Obviously it’s a major issue and everybody’s aware of that.”

Although a helicopter landing pad was included in the original design of the hospital, Northern Health has determined that it is not needed and could be unsafe and there are no longer plans for one to be built.

Several residents and City Councillors have expressed their concern about the amount of time it will take to transport patients from the North Peace Airport where the helicopter will land. Issues with having a helipad at the new hospital were first brought up when designs for a new neighbourhood along the East bypass road were being presented in 2008. At that time residents were worried that a helipad would create problems, as it would prevent construction higher than one story in the surrounding area.

While Northern Health has stood its ground on the issue, it will continue discussions with the community once the new hospital is up and running.

The new Fort St. John Hospital and Residential Care project is set to open June 21, 2012.

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