The federal investment will allow for easier maintenance of essential navigational equipment, including lights, buoys and GPS stations.
Kiri Westnedge, from the Canadian Coast Guard, spoke to the Haida Gwaii Observer on the importance of this new infrastructure, saying, “the new helipads allow the helicopter to land, making it much safer for Coast Guard personnel to access these remote aids to navigation and do this vital work.”
So far five helipads have already been built on Gowgaia Point, Davidson Point, Straie Island, Kingui Island and Tasu Sound.
“Crews are installing helipads at sites that were previously only accessible via hovering,” the Canadian Coast Guard tweeted. “These will provide a safe landing pad for us.”
The remaining eight are still under construction by crew that have been brought in from the mainland and Vancouver Island.
Seventeen navigational aids are also getting fixed up as part of the project, according to Westnedge.
These new helicopter landing pads improve safety on Haida Gwaii
Previously, helicopters would have hovered over the water while maintenance staff would descend to fix tools like buoys, lights or fog horns.
This maintenance comes after the recent sinking of a tour boat off the coast of Haida Gwaii. The Coast Guard had to be dispatched with a fleet of pollution reduction equipment and environmental specialists to clean up after the sinking boat released diesel fuel into the ocean.
The cost of the thirteen new helipads has not yet been revealed by the Coast Guard as the project is still underway.