From humpback whales to Forty-Foot Fred, people having fun with West Kelowna’s lighthouse proposal | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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From humpback whales to Forty-Foot Fred, people having fun with West Kelowna’s lighthouse proposal

Image Credit: Submitted/City of West Kelowna
October 23, 2020 - 7:30 AM

Not everyone hates the idea of a giant lighthouse being built at a winery near the south entrance to West Kelowna.

Some see nothing wrong with having a beacon serving as an iconic entrance to the city.

“I love the idea,” Phil Spoelstra posted on West Kelowna Councillor Stephen Johnston’s Facebook page. “A look-out at such a high peak with a view like that? Amazing!! Not sure why people are thinking that only coastal communities need to have lighthouses. Lakes have them too. We are a city built around a lake! It's not like that's a stretch. It makes more sense to have a lighthouse than to have ‘The Dolphins’.”

That, of course, is the reference to The Dolphins statue in downtown Kelowna.

Others took their praise of the lighthouse concept a little more tongue in cheek.

“Good,” Perrin Dixon posted. “I've been crashing my kayak into the rocks on the Westside for too many years now.”

The 115-foot tall lighthouse was proposed by Monette Farms, the developer of what has initially been called the Goats Peak Winery, across Highway 97 from Gorman’s Mill.

While council endorsed the proposed winery going ahead, they wanted more input from the developer on what the lighthouse might actually look like and from residents on whether they liked the idea.

READ MORE: If not a lighthouse for West Kelowna, then what?

There’s been a fair bit of support for the lighthouse although quite a number of people on social media have called it out of place and made other suggestions.

“If they build that then they also need to build a humpback whale sculpture to match the Dolphins on Water Street,” one commenter said. “They are like a fish out of water as well.”

Other new suggestions include things like a revolving restaurant or forest fire lookout.

“Giant OGOPOGO,” Linda Wiebe posted. “Gawd it’s a no brainer! Just do it!”

Forty Foot Fred
Forty Foot Fred
Image Credit: Susan Forster/Old Kelowna

“Fred Flintstone... I miss him,” Patrick Mark Mulligan posted.

That’s a suggestion that actually has a strong West Kelowna connection.

The iconic Forty-foot Fred, as he was once known, was a landmark at Kelowna’s Bedrock City until 1998 when it was replaced by a shopping centre.

He was memorialized when Freddy’s Brewpub named itself after him and his remains came to rest in his owner’s (R.J. Bennett’s) field in West Kelowna.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Forty Foot Fred is gone for good

On a more serious note, Westbank First Nation elder Barbara Hill suggested they look to something respecting the past

“My thought would be a teepee with a man, a woman and four children looking out towards north and east over the lake,” she wrote.

A view of the lighthouse from Gellatly Road.
A view of the lighthouse from Gellatly Road.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of West Kelowna

For his part, Darrel Monette, president and CEO of Monette farms, says he’s been too busy visiting his farms in Saskatchewan to follow what people are saying on social media about his proposal.

The lighthouse drawing that was submitted to the city of West Kelowna was just a concept drawing and a more detailed design is being worked on, he said.

At this point, he’s sticking with the idea of a lighthouse.

“I think it’s going to be something positive and in the wine industry, it’s got to be something different,” he said. “You go down to Napa and they’ve got all kinds of different ideas. I think we’re Napa on steroids because we’ve got the lake so you need to appeal to all generations and I think this is an idea that can do that.”

Monette says he’s a farmer with land in Saskatchewan, Montana and Arizona, not a developer.

But, his children are attending school in Kelowna and he wants to keep them rooted in agriculture so this is a legacy project.

He’ll be in the Okanagan by the end of the week and will be discussing his proposal with West Kelowna city staff before the project goes back to city council for further review.

He planted five acres of grapes on the Goat’s Peak land last spring with plans for more next year.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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