MD of Greenview donates to STARS

·2 min read

The Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) submitted a request to council back in November 2020 for $210,000, which would be used in 2021 for its base operations in Grande Prairie. Since building its base in Grande Prairie in 2006, the MD has provided consistent annual financial support. At the November 23, 2020 council meeting, the second request was for an additional $500,000, which would help fund the new H145 helicopter, which will be based in Grande Prairie. After careful consideration, council unanimously agreed to commit to the half-million-dollar funding over a five-year term. In a media release, Reeve Dale Smith from the MD of Greenview stated, “STARS will always be a valued service to our residents, workers, and recreation enthusiasts with the MD of Greenview and across Northern Alberta. Helping to purchase a helicopter to operate in the region is a natural fit and an easy decision for council.”

In June 2018, the STARS announced a fleet renewal campaign to purchase nine new Airbus H145 helicopters by 2024, which would replace the BK117 and AW139 models in its current fleet. Five of the nine new models would be based in Alberta. “The bulk of our ageing fleet is no longer being built and is becoming costlier to maintain. The H145 aircraft selection is the best option for STARS' new fleet. It offers cutting-edge technology, advanced safety features, and an updated version of the medical interior found in STARS existing helicopters," stated Andrea Robertson, STARS president and CEO.

To replace the whole fleet will cost STARS over 117 million, as just one H145 helicopter is $13 million. The renewal campaign is moving quicker than predicted due to the $65 million contribution in early 2019 from the Federal budget. Each of the western provinces has made substantial contributions or outright funded one helicopter's total cost. Due to government and corporate sponsors, the STARS fleet's remainder is expected to be delivered next year.

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Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press