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Edmonton police seeking funds for new heliport

July 9, 2014, Edmonton - Edmonton police will ask city council for $22 million over five years for two twin-engined helicopters and a new heliport inside the city.


July 9, 2014
By The Edmonton Journal

Topics

Police came to a city council committee Monday, outlining a
multi-year plan to ask to upgrade its Air-1 program, used primarily for
police pursuits.

Police plan on asking the city to budget for one
twin-engined helicopter — at a cost of $7 million — in the fall. They
would ask to replace the next helicopter in 2019, then build a new
federally-regulated heliport inside city limits.

The new helicopters fit into the city’s goal of becoming a global city, said Supt. Kevin Galvin, supervisor of the program.

“We’re
talking about a program that we’re trying to take us into the future,
20 years into the future,” said Galvin, who also pointed out annexation
plans that would expand the range of police service.

The city’s
two existing choppers, which cost about $2 million each, were shifted to
Villeneuve Airport from the former City Centre Airport late last year.
Police have argued the location — 9.4 minutes away instead of four
minutes at the old location — limits their scope and forces them to
reject or cut off calls. Alternatives like the runway at CFB Edmonton in
Namao have not proved feasible as alternatives, police told council.

The
new helicopters can take off with less space, are quieter and more fuel
efficient, Galvin said. They would cost $2.9 million per year to
operate, an increase from the current cost of roughly $1.9 million. The
police will also look to share costs with other agencies occasionally
using the service. The Edmonton Police Foundation will also raise funds
for the project, Galvin said.


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