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New Helipad Regulations Impact Bluewater Trail Access

New Helipad Regulations Impact Bluewater Trail Access
Image courtesy of Facebook | RACQ CQ Rescue

The hospital helipad reopens with stricter guidelines impacting community trail access.

The recent reopening of the Mackay Base Hospital helipad comes with significant changes impacting the accessibility of the Bluewater Trail.

The helipad’s closure was necessitated by updated national guidelines for helicopter landings, bringing about stricter safety measures enforced by CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority).

Safety Perimeter: Preventing Helicopter Hazards

The new guidelines, issued in November, mandate a 50-meter exclusion zone around the helipad during take-off and landing.

This clearance aims to prevent potential hazards caused by the helicopter downwash, which can propel objects, such as prams or bikes, if they are within close proximity to the aircraft.

Collaborative Compliance: Impact on Bluewater Trail

Mackay Health and Hospital Service’s Chief Executive, Susan Gannon, highlighted the collaboration between various entities, including RACQ CQ Rescue and Mackay Regional Council, to comply with these regulations while reopening the helipad.

However, this compliance involves periodic closures of sections of the Bluewater Trail during helicopter operations.

Temporary Closures: Community Cooperation Needed

Gannon emphasised the temporary nature of these closures, urging community understanding and cooperation during the limited access periods.

The path will reopen when the helicopter is grounded, and strict security measures, including flashing lights and temporary barricades, will be in place to ensure safety and compliance.

Prioritising Helipad Operations

Despite the inconvenience, these measures prioritise patient safety and efficient helicopter operations.

On average, the helipad facilitates one to two landings daily, necessitating these brief closures.

Community Call: Prioritising Safety Together

As Mackay Base Hospital resumes its helicopter services, the community is encouraged to heed the safety protocols in place.

Understanding and cooperation from trail users are pivotal in maintaining the balance between public access and ensuring a secure environment for medical air transport.

Vital Safety Measures: Community Support Required

The flashing lights, security staff, and exclusion zone enforcement serve as critical safety components.

As Gannon expressed, community support and adherence to these measures are crucial to facilitating uninterrupted medical services while ensuring public safety along the Bluewater Trail.

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