Heliport on the roof is planned for the new St. Paul’s Hospital

Providence Health Care proposes to add a helicopter landing pad on the roof of the new St. Paul’s Hospital in False Creek Flats.

The inclusion of a heliport was considered in earlier stages of the hospital’s campus planning process, but it was not formally included in previous reviews of the campus policy statement, rezoning application, and development permit application.

A new application outlines a concept for building a heliport on the 11th floor roof, nearly 190 feet above the ground, on the north side of the building – close to Prior Street, Trillium Park, Chinatown and Strathcona.

To obtain the addition of a heliport, the application seeks permission from the Vancouver City Council to allow a small 31-ft projection into the protected Mountain View Cone 22 that exits from Main Street near its intersection with Kingsway. This would allow the enclosure to the elevators and stairs to reach the roof, giving access to the helicopter site.

In addition, mechanical equipment previously intended for the roof terrace would be moved to the fourth level to accommodate the heliport facility.

st pauls hospital false creek flats heliport

Location of the heliport on the new St. Paul’s Hospital in False Creek Flats. (Providence Health Care)

st pauls hospital false creek flats heliport view cone 22

See Cone 22’s height restrictions over the new St. Paul’s Hospital site in False Creek Flats. (Providence Health Care)

st pauls hospital false creek flats heliport

See Cone 22’s height restrictions over the new St. Paul’s Hospital site in False Creek Flats. (Providence Health Care)

According to city staff, the heliport at the new hospital, based on similar city hospital heliport operations, could see an average of five flights a week, including four during the day and one overnight. Each flight includes arrival and departure.

“All air ambulance flights are urgent, even if they are transfers. Patients for transfer are triaged and sent to the most appropriate facility for treatment. If time is not a factor, patients will be transferred via ambulance or transfer vehicle,” explains city staff.

The inclusion of a heliport extends the availability of the new St. Paul’s Hospital’s largest leading provincial specialized programs and referral centers, including cardiac and pulmonary care, kidney, specialist surgeries and transplants, along with emergency and critical care and a range of general and specialized care.

The existing St. Paul’s Hospital in the West End of downtown Vancouver already serves as a provincial program and a referral center, but it does not have a heliport. Currently, patients at St. Paul’s Hospital, arriving by air ambulance, flown to the heliport near Waterfront Station and then transferred by land ambulance, increasing travel time, especially for patients in need of critical care. About 40% of hospital visitors come from outside Vancouver.

st pauls hospital false creek flats heliport view cone 22

See Cone 22’s height restrictions over the new St. Paul’s Hospital site in False Creek Flats. (Providence Health Care)

st pauls hospital false creek flats heliport view cone 22

The new St. Paul’s Hospital’s Heliport Impact on View Cone 22. (City of Vancouver)

st.  pauls hospital

Artistic rendering of the new St. Paul’s Hospital Campus and the public space. (Providence Healthcare)

Based on BC Emergency Health Services statistics, about 90% of air ambulance transports are transfers between hospitals. Every year, over 3,000 patients with life or limb injuries are transported by air ambulance, and nearly 5,000 are transported by air to the specialized programs they need at another hospital.

Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), Surrey Memorial Hospital and New Westminster’s Royal Columbian Hospital each have a heliport on the roof, while BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital share a heliport on a field.

To maintain safe operation of VGH’s heliport on the low roof of its relief building, Transport Canada and the city enforce strict altitude restrictions on building heights in a sweeping area northwest to northeast of the heliport to protect the airway from air ambulances.

The potential flight path for helicopters to the heliport at the new St. Paul’s Hospital was not revealed in consultation material, and it is unclear whether new strict building height rules can be imposed on areas such as Chinatown and Strathcona.

Elevation restrictions across the Broadway plan due to mountain view cones and the flight path of Vancouver General Hospital helicopters. Click on the image for an enlarged version. (Vancouver by)

Construction of the $ 2.2 billion first phase of the campus, which provides a new replacement and expanded hospital building of 1.7 million square feet, began earlier this year and should be completed in 2027.

Last month, Providence Health Care promoted its plans for the second phase of 800,000 sq ft of office space for clinical support and research applications.

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