October 14, 2015 - 11:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - The RCMP helicopter is officially leaving the Kamloops hangar, with a spring 2016 move planned.
The local helicopter, which currently covers the Southeast district, will fly to the North District. The move is based on human resources, cost and operational requirements according to Staff Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, a media relations officer for the district. After the scheduled move, Kamloops operations will be dependent on the helicopter at the hangar out of Kelowna.
"The addition of a helicopter to the North District will provide more effective operational support to remote areas where fixed wing aircraft cannot operate, or are not effective,” Vermeulen says. "There is minimal impact to helicopter operations in Kamloops, due to the proximity of the Kelowna hangar."
Despite the district losing a helicopter, Vermeulen says it is gaining fixed wing aircraft with float capability, which he calls an improvement to existing services.
"Kelowna is centrally located in the Southeast area of B.C., and as such is a natural hub for this region’s air services. Operational support units, such as police dogs or emergency response team, are already based in Kelowna. These units will be more accessible by having both a helicopter and a fixed wing plane available to transport them anywhere they are needed,” he says.
Last February, spokespeople at the Kamloops detachment previously reported the move was scheduled for April 2015, but Vermeulen called the plans a ‘recommendation’ not ready to be implemented.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015