Air ambulance flyover tests path to helipad, noise levels

The Bendigo air ambulance was spotted over the city’s new hospital today, trialling the flight path it will take to a proposed helipad on top of the health facility. 

The southbound Ambulance Victoria aircraft, normally housed at the Bendigo airport, passed over the corner of Arnold and Stewart streets, the place earmarked for the landing spot. 

The flyover was also organised so contractor Lendlease could test sound levels at the new Bendigo Health building, scheduled to open in January next year. 

Murray Barkmeyer from Bendigo’s helicopter emergency medical service base said the facility would enable retrieval teams to transport critically ill patients, including newly born babies, to Melbourne for treatment.  

It would take a helicopter just 30 minutes to fly from Bendigo Health to the Alfred Hospital, Mr Barkmeyer said.  

The test flight comes two days before Bendigo’s council considers a planning amendment to make sure new developments do not obstruct the flight path of aircrafts in and out of hospitals at Bendigo and Heathcote.

Council will hear recommendations it apply a design and development overlay to a 300-metre wide strip of land parallel with Nolan Street.

The area taken in by the overlay runs from the Prince of Wales showgrounds to the McIvor Road-Sternberg Road intersection. 

Under the amendment, buildings within 460 metres of the helipad that are higher than or the same height as the landing spot will need to obtain a planning permit. 

A new building between 460 metres and 1.13 kilometres away will require a permit if it stands 10 metres above the helipad. 

The helipad will sit atop a complex containing a multi-level carpark, cafe and conference centre, will stand 236 metres high.   

Bendigo Heath executive director Peter Faulkner said a bridge will be built over Arnold Street to connect the helipad to the main structure of the new hospital. 

“This will dramatically decrease response times for the critically ill and allow us to better manage major traumas or disasters,” he said.  

 The agenda for Wednesday’s council meeting containing the planning recommendations explained there would be “no significant impact” to the development potential of the land inside the overlay. 

No submissions opposing the plan were received from inside the City of Greater Bendigo.