Back in the winter, the edges of the hard, asphalt-like material covering the two-year-old helipad began to chip away.
Hospital officials asked Ornge, the province's air ambulance service, to help them find a good time to close down the helipad so that repairs could be done.
The repairs were paid for by Ellis Don, the contractor who built the hospital, because the helipad's surface shouldn't have worn out so quickly.
“We identified June 5-7 as a good time to close it for a two-day closure,” Joe Pilon, the hospital's senior vice-president, said.
“When we went up to resurface it, we actually noticed it was chipping off in a lot more spots. We thought the best thing to do was just to grind this topping off, and replace it with a new topping. That was a lot of work, and extended the shutdown to June 17.”
But the problems didn't end there.
On July 6, a helicopter pilot landing on the helipad noticed that an eight-inch-by-four-inch chunk of concrete had come loose from the structure.
Because of the possibility that the loose concrete could fly up and hit helicopters or be thrown down onto the road below, the helipad was immediately shut down.
“Unfortunately that happened on a Friday afternoon,” Pilon said.
“We couldn't get the architects, the engineers and the contractor up until Monday morning. For some reason, this new surface we put on there isn't bonding well to the concrete. For the most part, it seems to have bonded well, but there are some spots where it's not bonding. We don't know why.
“We were able to chip off the spots where it had bubbled a little and make it safe and reopen the helipad.”
Ellis Don is currently looking for a substance which will work better as a helipad surface, Pilon said. He said the hospital will likely shut down the helipad for a period of time this fall for it to be resurfaced once again.
During the first set of repairs in June, Ornge landed its helicopters at the OPP helipad on Fielding Road, located between Copper Cliff and Lively. Ornge helicopters were sent to the Sudbury Airport during the helipad's most recent closure.
The patients were transported to the hospital from these sites by land ambulances, according to an email statement from Ornge.
“While time to transport may have been increased, Ornge was able to mitigate any negative impacts to the patient by using a landing site as close to the hospital as possible.”
Posted by Arron Pickard