Innisfail Town Council has initiated the first steps toward restoring operations at the Innisfail Heliport after agreeing in principle to the facility’s rehabilitation at its existing location.
A motion to do so was passed during the Feb. 22 Regular Meeting of Council, following considerable research and stakeholder engagement carried out on the matter over the past several months.
The facility was temporarily closed in June of last year after significant concerns were identified around both safety and liability. While the identified risks prevail, work now underway will both explore and initiate planning around the actions necessary to bring the site into compliance and ensure the safety of its patrons and stakeholders.
“We’ve heard loudly and clearly from stakeholders and the community on both the importance of retaining a heliport in Innisfail and the operational value of doing so at the facility’s existing site. We’ve of course learned over the last year or so that this does pose some challenges from a safety and liability perspective; however, council’s endorsement last week can be seen as the first step toward better understanding these challenges and exploring the various options toward overcoming them. We look forward to now getting the ball rolling and further engaging the community to determine how we can all best come together to make sure these important and necessary upgrades move forward.”
— Mayor Jim Romane
By agreeing to the matter in principle, council has provided direction to administration to allocate staff time and resources toward exploring the actions necessary for the heliport’s eventual recommissioning at its current location.
While matters such as full project funding would need to later be considered (should the facility’s rehabilitation ultimately proceed), council in the interim has also authorized administration to develop tendering documents for the completion of site design and engineering drawings, and to advance the development of a facility operations plan (at an estimated value of $10,000).
Updates on the matter will be shared as they become available.