Rocky Mountain House water tower in jeopardy due to new helicopter pad
The installation of a multi-million dollar helicopter pad in Rocky Mountain House is putting a town landmark in jeopardy, and thousands of tax dollars could be at stake.
The Rocky Mountain House water tower is no longer in service, but it is still considered a landmark and marketing tool, while also providing a high point for a communications antennae.
“That is the identity of Rocky Mountain House, for people coming to our area, it’s well lit, showing our brand and logo,” Todd Becker, Rocky Mountain House’s Chief Administrative Officer said.
However, Alberta Health Services says the water tower is standing in the way of the local hospital’s new helipad – which means patients being airlifted to the facility need to be transferred at the town airport.
Mayor Fred Nash said he’s not happy that someone didn’t realize the water tower would be an issue in the years leading up to the landing pad’s construction.
“If this was to happen in downtown Calgary, and Calgary was told they had to remove their Calgary Tower, it would put a different light on the issue,” Nash said.
“That, to me, is where we’re at. There would be public outcry to the enth degree if you had to tear down the Calgary Tower.”
Town officials said AHS told them about the issue in June, before they sent out a public release on August 9, saying $430,000 would be committed for demolition.
AHS said their own consultant didn’t foresee the issue.
“Alberta Health Services engaged a consultant to lead the project with the development of the new heliport, and in their development of the specs they had identified to Alberta Health Services that the tower just required additional lighting,” AHS spokesperson Brian Stevenson said.
The town has three options: to paint it in an orange safety checkerboard pattern, to move it away from the site, or to tear it down – it appears the town is leaning towards removing the tower altogether.
With files from David Ewasuk