• The Sofitel at Darling Harbour. A helipad has been proposed for the roof. (Hook Communications)
    The Sofitel at Darling Harbour. A helipad has been proposed for the roof. (Hook Communications)

A Sydney entreprenuer has proposed building a helipad on the roof of the Sofitel Sydney hotel at Darling Harbour.

The Darling Harbour Helipad proposal would see a new structure built on the roof of the 38-storey Sofitel hotel, with the addition of a lift and stairs to service the helipad.

Proponent, hotel investor Dr Jerry Schwartz, believes a helipad in the Sydney CBD would help revive Sydney's flagging economy, providing helicopter access to the CBD. Currently, the only helipads are at Bankstown and Sydney International airports.

'Given the devastation to Sydney’s tourism and business economy as a result of Coronavirus, there is no better time to introduce the concept of a CBD helipad to help revive the city’s economic fortunes,” said Schwartz

 “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.

“Darling Harbour is designated as a dedicated tourism, convention and business precinct, which makes it’s the ideal location for a permanent helipad.

“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."

According to the proposal, the helipad would be classified as an aircraft facility under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation (2000) and as such would require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be lodged during the approval process.

The EIS process will include extensive consultation with local residents, businesses and other stakeholders. In anticipation, the project team had already begun talking to relevant industry stakeholders about potential impacts, considerations and options for operating the helipad.

The proposed flight path will be finalised after consultation with appropriate regulatory and air traffic control authorities. It is envisaged that the flight path will be developed based on the flight lanes of existing helicopter trips around the Sydney CBD and between Sydney Airport.

Schwartz said investigations were underway to assess noise impact from helicopter operations.

“Helicopter flights around the Sydney CBD are frequent and many already use the flight path proposed for this helipad,” he said.

“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."

Members of the community will be given the chance to provide feedback and comment on the EIS once it is available.

More information is on the proposal website.

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