Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean is hopeful a much-needed helipad directly beside the Kurow Medical Centre may now be a possibility after taking the community’s plight to Parliament.
“The Kurow Medical Board haven’t been able to move forward with the project after discovering the tiny section of land they wanted to build the pad on was owned by the Department of Conservation, who wanted to charge a whopping $77,000 (the market rate) for the area.
“Patients are currently transported around the road to the rugby fields, where they’re loaded on to the rescue helicopter. Board members say having the helipad right outside the door would mean significantly less trauma for those needing urgent care.”
Mrs Dean met Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage to discuss the issue and find out why the Government appeared to be putting pennies before patients.
“It appears Doc now realise the importance of this transaction and are now working with Ngai Tahu (who have expressed support for the helipad), Linz and the Waitaki District Council to come up with a solution.
“There is an option that the land (which Ngai Tahu have first rights to) could be transferred to Doc then vested to the WDC, who would then allow the Kurow Medical Board to use it to build the helipad.”
Mrs Dean says after months of negotiations, she is pleased to see the Minister has now come to the party and hopes a solution can now be reached that the community will benefit from.