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Bad news for city choppers as foreshore landing site cut

THE City of Perth’s redevelopment of prime Swan River foreshore land looks set to harm at least one business.

Preston Helicopters has been operating the Perth Helipad for the past six years, with growing success, but its time there will end next month.

It and other helicopter operators using the helipad had come under fire recently from city residents who claim the noise from their operations has reduced the amenity of their properties.

Helicopter operators such as the WA Police Service, the Army and television stations also use the helipad.

However, council’s Point Fraser redevelopment requires the land the helipad is situated on.

Council wanted to move the helipad to a site about 200 metres east.

However, the Department of Land Administration has advised council that, to make such a move, it has to engage in public consultation and both houses of the WA Parliament have to agree to it.

It is understood council is still trying to make short-term arrangements to keep a helipad in the CBD.

Preston Helicopters director Jo Firth said the loss of the Perth Helipad would have a major impact on her business.

“About one third of our business comes from there,” she said.

“I have hundreds of vouchers for joyflights from the city outstanding.

“We bring about 300 people to the city on weekends and many of those people make a day of it there.

“That helipad has been a real drawcard for the city.

“This summer our operations from there had unprecedented growth.”

Police Air Support officer in charge Senior Sergeant Jeff Willoughby said the helipad’s closure would have minimal impact on police operations.

“Our main use of the helipad is for medivac purposes or the emergency deployment of policing staff,” he said.

“However, some interim arrangements will need to be made with other emergency services operators such as the ambulance service to overcome the shortfall.”

One of the key issues in medical transports is ensuring an ambulance is waiting at the correct landing point for the helicopter bringing in the patient.

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