Construction of new heliport gates at St. Mary's Hospital will begin next week, signaling an end in sight to the closure of the hospital's helipad.
The helipad has been closed since construction began at the hospital in 2010.
At first a crane on site was the reason the helipad was deemed unusable and later a Transport Canada inspection showed that tree removal and traffic control measures were needed before the pad could be certified for use again.
Viola Kaminski, public affairs officer with Vancouver Coastal Health, said the work now underway on the traffic control gates is expected to last a few more weeks.
"Once the construction is complete, staff training and final inspection by Transport Canada will take place," Kaminski said. "Once the heliport is certified by Transport Canada, it will be operational."
Currently patients needing to be airlifted to Lower Mainland hospitals are being driven to the Wilson Creek airport where helicopters can land safely.
© Coast Reporter