'Iconic' lighthouse proposed for West Kelowna's southern entrance ridiculed by councillor
An eight-storey lighthouse near West Kelowna’s southern entrance won’t become an iconic structure, at least not until there is more public feedback.
The lighthouse was proposed by a Saskatchewan developer as the tasting room for what is dubbed the Goats Peak Winery it wants to create across Highway 97 from Gorman’s mill.
It was presented to West Kelowna City Council today, Oct. 13 and councillors first learned about the lighthouse component when they got their agendas on Friday.
Councillors liked the idea of the winery and most didn’t object to the height of the proposed lighthouse but some didn’t like the idea of a lighthouse being built at all.
Coun. Doug Findlater said he talked to some residents on the weekend. Some liked the idea while others were strongly opposed so he wanted more time to consider the project.
“There are no lighthouses on this lake,” Coun. Carol Zanon said. “I deplore this as the epitome of bad taste."
She argued that an iconic gateway to the city should reflect its history of the Interior Salish people, the loggers, fur traders and farmers who formed the basis for the city and that there was no connection to coastal lighthouses.
She also noted that city plans called for a “collaborative” approach to a city gateway so she objected to just going ahead with what a developer proposed.
Monette Farms, a Saskatchewan agriculture business, bought the land in 2019 and presented plans for 12 acres of vineyards, a 6,000-square-foot winery building and the 1,500-square-foot, 115-foot tall tasting room that is designed to look like a lighthouse.
Access would be through the 1,000-unit Goats Peak housing development underway by the Staburn Property Group nearby.
The lighthouse would be three feet taller than Canada’s tallest real lighthouse at Cap-des-Rosiers, Quebec.
If approved, it will become the tallest building in West Kelowna at eight storeys and its first high rise. The West Kelowna fire department is not yet equipped to fight fires in such tall buildings. Firefighters will have to be trained on high rise firefighting.
City staff told council the tower will be visible from Mount Boucherie and other parts of the city.
Normally, in order to build a wine processing plant in the agricultural land reserve, 50 per cent of its grapes have to be grown on site before the winery can be built.
But, since some of the vines were just planted this year and won’t be in full production until 2022-23, the application to the city is for a three-year exemption from that rule.
Council was in unanimous support of the winery going ahead but wanted more public feedback on the lighthouse.
The project will also have to be approved by the Agricultural Land Commission.
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