Westpac helicopter rescue service crew John Rowell, Chris Jowsey and Isaac Smith are the first to land at the Lockyer Valley’s new helipad near Gatton.
Westpac helicopter rescue service crew John Rowell, Chris Jowsey and Isaac Smith are the first to land at the Lockyer Valley’s new helipad near Gatton. Derek Barry

Lockyer Valley helipad launched

LOCKYER Valley is better equipped to deal with future emergencies after council launched of a new helipad today on the Main Green Swamp Rd 10km north of Gatton.

The helipad is at the future Lockyer Valley regional airport site and site owner Randal McFarlane, who donated the helipad land to council, while Council invited the Westpac Helicopter Rescue Service to do the first landing.

Lockyer Mayor Steve Jones said he was delighted private enterprise was helping Council with a very important issue offering helicopters a place to refuel in an emergency.

"Those who were around in 2011 will remember the difficulty re-fueling helicopters," Cr Jones said.

"That memorable afternoon in Grantham really did show the shortcomings and there aren't too many sites in the Valley where you can store fuel safely."

Mr McFarlane said the opening was a wonderful day and the culmination of a couple of years trying to get it up and running.

"When I saw what happened in the Lockyer Valley a couple of years ago and saw things could be better resolved if they had a helipad, we though we had no choince but to get involved ourselves and make this land available to the council," Mr McFarlane said.

"There will be permanent refueling facilities built on the airport and in the meantime, temporary stock of fuel can be located next to the pad."

Mr McFarlane said there was good co-operation between levels of government but he paid special tribute to one person

"It takes time to get things done but I want to name this facility the Steve Jones helipad because he's the guy who made it happen," he said.

Westpac Helicopter Rescue Service pilot John Rowell said the facility would be a major boost to the region and they were honoured to be the first crew to land at the facility.


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