Hotelier Jerry Schwartz has proposed a plan to build a permanent helipad on the roof of his Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour to help revive Sydney’s economy and boost the city’s business events market.
The Darling Harbour Helipad would involve building a new structure on the roof of the 38-storey Sofitel, located next to the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), with the addition of a lift and stairs to service the helipad.
Schwartz said the helipad would help to “establish Sydney as one of the world’s great convention cities”.
“The world’s great cities – such as London, Paris and New York – have CBD helipads, and even Melbourne offers city helicopter transfers to the River Yarra helipad,” he said.
“We would envisage that world leaders could arrive at Sydney Airport and be flown direct to the Darling Harbour Helipad to make a keynote address at the International Convention Centre [Sydney].
“There’s no doubt that this infrastructure would significantly benefit Sydney’s business and convention profile and provide delegates attending the ICC and Sydney CBD the highest security, while also ensuring disruptions to city traffic are minimised.”
Helipad proposal not the first attempt
This is isn’t Schwartz’s first mention of a helipad in Darling Harbour.
In 2014 when the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour was first announced, the hotel mogul asked for government approval to build a helipad on top of the hotel.
Before that, in 2012, Schwartz was part of a plan to establish a floating heliport in Darling Harbour.
A heliport previously operated at Darling Harbour in the 1980s, but was removed to make way for the redevelopment of the former rail yards.
Currently, the only major public helipad services are located at Bankstown and Mascot.
Schwartz said as the proposed rooftop helipad would be classified as an ‘aircraft facility’ under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation (2000), an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be prepared and lodged with the consent authority, the City of Sydney Council, for consideration.
The EIS process will include extensive consultation with local residents, businesses and other stakeholders.
The helipad would also be available for use by emergency services.
“Helicopter flights around the Sydney CBD are frequent and many already use the flight path proposed for this helipad,” said Schwartz.
“The city has had a helipad in the past, so we are not proposing anything that is dramatically different, but its construction can play a significant role in reviving the city’s economy in the wake of the devastating impact of coronavirus.
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