Future STARS helipad at Portage Hospital funded entirely from donations

The STARS Air Ambulance lands at the helipad at Health Sciences Centre. Global News

Manitoba is set to get its second STARS Air Ambulance helipad and it’s all because of donations from the community.

A groundbreaking for the landing pad is slated for next week at the Portage District General Hospital.

The hospital’s foundation raised over $350,000 for the project through private donations and a lottery.

“It is important because we have such critically ill patients that show up at the hospital,” Erin Miller, executive director of the Portage District General Hospital Foundation.

READ MORE: STARS has busiest month on record in Manitoba


Right now Miller said STARS cannot land its helicopter at the hospital. Patients needing to be transported have to take an ambulance 10 kilometres to Southport where STARS is able to touch down.

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STARS said they expect to have more than 30 landings per year at the new helipad at the Portage hospital once it is constructed.

So far this year, STARS transported 20 people from Portage la Prairie to a Winnipeg hospital with the transfer happening at an airport in Portage la Prairie. Their helicopters also responded to nine scene calls in the area.

“Timing doesn’t make sense to send people that way,” she said. “This will be a huge asset for the community.”

Artist rendering of the landing pad funded through the Portage District General Hospital Foundation Lottery. Portage District General Hospital Foundation

Miller said the foundation decided to take on the project because it was concerned it would be a long time before a helipad could be constructed otherwise.

“With the way health care spending is right now there would be no way for a project of this magnitude to get done,” she said.

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Tickets to the Portage Hospital Lotto can still be purchased with the top prize of your choice of $100,000, a tractor, RV or a vacation.

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