Community expresses its delight at $400k for new helipad
THE MACLEAN community is ecstatic at the announcement of $400,000 in funding for the Maclean Hospital helipad, according to a community stalwart who has battled to keep the project alive.
The president of the Maclean Rotary Club, Anne Farrell, said she was ecstatic to hear of the NSW Government's funding contribution towards the much-needed helipad upgrade and knows those around her felt the same.
"I'd like to express our sincere appreciation to Chris Gulaptis who has advocated very strongly to secure the funding on behalf of the community," Ms Farrell said.
The long-awaited announcement of the helipad funding came during a visit to the Clarence Valley by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
The Premier said a new $750,000 helipad would ensure the rapid transfer of patients needing more specialised attention to hospitals in Lismore, the Gold Coast or Brisbane.
Mrs Berejiklian and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the new helipad would be delivered in the next term of Government.
"The new helipad at Maclean District Hospital will ensure patients and clinicians in Northern NSW are transported swiftly to hospital to receive the highest level of health care," Ms Berejiklian said.
The NSW Government will contribute $400,000 in funding for the helipad upgrade, with the remaining funds donated by the estate of longstanding Maclean residents Merv and Yukki Sheehan.
Mr Gulaptis welcomed the investment, saying it would eliminate the need for ambulance transfers between the current helicopter landing site and the hospital.
"The contribution from the estate of Mr and Mrs Sheehan will be a long-lasting legacy to a community that they loved and were very much a part of throughout their lives. I am pleased that the NSW Government is able to provide this funding to upgrade the helipad for Maclean.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the Liberals and Nationals Government was building vital hospital infrastructure in every corner of the state.
"Country NSW knows that for too long under Labor, hospitals and regional communities were neglected.
"Over the next four years we are spending a record $8billion to rebuild NSW's hospitals, health facilities and ambulance stations, and employing thousands of extra frontline medical and nursing staff. It's what our community deserves."
The Maclean community had built the original helipad, but when the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service began to use a bigger helicopter, the old helipad could not handle the new aircraft.