Opinion » Maxed Out

Do it and do it now

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Okay, I'd have to agree on the poem thing. But there are other things way more lovely than a tree.

There's the look of relief on someone's face when they realize they're not going to die because help has arrived and more help is just moments away. There's the look of gratitude too deep, too personal to ever adequately find voice when they haltingly try to express their heartfelt thanks to the medical personnel who saved their lives, efforts made possible only because their broken body was delivered to the medic's lifesaving ministrations as quickly as humanly possible.

Would I sacrifice some trees for that? In a heartbeat. Possibly my heartbeat. Or yours. Or someone we might both know and love.

So what's up with the three amigos on council Tuesday evening who don't think that's a good tradeoff? Ralph, Kenny and Eckhard seem to be doing backflips to save a stand of trees that can be generously called unlovely and, by any rational evaluation, inconsiderable... at least when weighed against the very real possibility of human life and the resulting horrendous PR nightmare that would ensue as sure as " Gesundheit " follows sneeze.

Here's the story and the list of characters thus far. Transport Canada is a federal agency charged with all aspects of civil aviation. They make the rules; they enforce the rules. They take their role in aviation safety very seriously. Says so right on their website. Germane to this melodrama, they promulgate rules for helicopter safety, including the helipad outside the Whistler Healthcare Clinic, and they license both helicopters and pilots.

Since the Clinic and helipad was built in mid-1990s, they've let a number of deficiencies related to safety slide. They've decided to let them slide no more. Why? This is a government agency with absolute power we're talking about. Why isn't an important question. They've said they won't let things slide anymore and they seem to mean it, having threatened to shut down the helipad if it's not in compliance by November 22. That's Monday if you've lost track.

Are their rules reasonable? Op. cit. the Why question. It doesn't matter whether their rules are so anal they need the jaws of life to take a dump in the morning. They make the rules; we play the game. Can they close the heliport? Yes. Can they punish pilots and aircraft owners who ignore the closure? Silly question; of course they can.

The second character is Vancouver Coastal Health. They administer healthcare in the corridor. Administer is a word I'm using loosely. Among the things they administer are healthcare facilities. As such, they're responsible for making sure things like helipads conform to TC's Byzantine rules. Responsible is a word I'm using loosely.

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