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West Kelowna rejects proposed eight-storey tower at winery

The proposed Goats Peak Winery tower has been rejected by West Kelowna city council.
The proposed Goats Peak Winery tower has been rejected by West Kelowna city council.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of West Kelowna

Not only will there not be a lighthouse towering above the Goats Peak Winery in West Kelowna, there will be no highrise tower at all.

West Kelowna city council refused to approve an eight-storey tower above the winery yesterday, Aug. 24, citing the unacceptable cost of training firefighters as a key reason for saying no.

The original proposal was for a lighthouse but that was changed to a Tuscan-type of tower, but of the same height.

READ MORE: 'Iconic' lighthouse proposed for West Kelowna's southern entrance ridiculed by councillor

Being more than six storeys high meant it would qualify as a highrise and require specialized training for the entire West Kelowna Fire Rescue department at an estimated cost of $150,000. About $50,000 in equipment would also be needed bringing the total cost to $200,000.

READ MORE: West Kelowna winery plan would require high-rise training for firefighters

“What I see here is somebody wants to have a lookout tower,” councillor Rick de Jong said in speaking against it. “Somebody wants to have another signature building within West Kelowna. That’s the only rationale I’m finding here.

“When I look at having too spend $200,000 so that the fire department is equipped to fight fires in such a structure, I think the driving force behind that investment should be because we have a highrise tower coming in with residential development where those apartments are going to be paying taxes and providing homes for people to live in. This does none of that.”

While highrises may come to the city some day, a report that went to council last month said that was not likely to happen for another 20 years.

READ MORE: No highrises in West Kelowna’s future except for a winery tower

“I can see it being a landmark for the wine trail,” Mayor Gord Milsom said. “As far as the public benefit – yes, there will be some pods where you can get some nice views, but the upper part of the tower just leads to a view of the sky. I guess it’s another way of looking at the sky from up there but, perhaps a tower that’s no more than six storeys where there’s no cost associated with additional firefighting training may still accomplish the same kind of view.”

Milsom asked the developer’s architect whether it would work as a six storey tower instead. She tried to argue it really was only five storeys that would be occupied and much of it would just be a stairwell.

City staff said that, based on its overall height, it was classified as a high building and required specialized firefighting training.

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