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Hope’s airpark saw 400 flights during flood disaster response

Emergency response hub coordinating flights for deliveries, rescue and more
The Hope Fire Department helps unload produce from a privately chartered helicopter for the Hope Food Bank during the height of the emergency situation, at the FVRD Regional Hope Airpark. The food was to feed 1,200 stranded travellers. (Hope Community Services/ Facebook)

The saying goes that all roads lead to Hope.

But when all those roads were closed, cutting off the town entirely, the FVRD Regional Hope Airpark became the main transportation hub. The facility at the west end of town has seen more than 400 flights since the emergency situation began, moving more than 2,000 passengers.

That included private planes and helicopters bringing in donations of meals, groceries and medical supplies. There was a steady stream of donations into the area from organizations in surrounding towns, and all of it had to be flown in.

There were people who chartered flights home, and emergency flights to take patients out of town. There was damage to be surveyed, and rescue missions to carry out as people were trapped between slides on Highway 7.

The Hope Fire Department was on task through the week helping unload pallets of food to help feed the 1,200 or so stranded travellers.

And on Monday, while it didn’t land in Hope, even a military Chinook helicopter lumbered its way over the town. The military also used the airpark as a hub for the dozens of soldiers in the region helping with flood protection and road rebuilding.

It’s a huge influx of activity for the small airpark, which on average sees about two flights per day this time of year, the FVRD Emergency Operations Centre told The Standard.

While the town is in recovery mode, there are areas around Hope that are still in crisis.

The airpark has a phone scheduling system to manage all the incoming and departing flights.

All aircraft operators are asked to call ahead to 604-798-9439, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. to schedule a landing time. Messages can be left after hours.

The FVRD said that people have been asking how they can assist the airpark. They suggest a financial donation to help with future improvements, to help with community response.

READ MORE: Environment Canada warns rainstorm to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley tonight


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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