If not a lighthouse for West Kelowna, then what? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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If not a lighthouse for West Kelowna, then what?

This is a rendering of an eight-storey lighthouse proposed for Goats Peak Winery.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of West Kelowna
October 19, 2020 - 6:00 AM

Carol Zanon has a gut feeling that a giant lighthouse is not the best way to mark West Kelowna’s southern entrance.

Earlier this week, the West Kelowna city councillor made some pretty harsh comments about a proposal by the Goats Peak Winery to build a 115-foot tall lighthouse near Highway 97.

“I deplore this as the epitome of bad taste,” she said at the time.

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

Given a few days to reflect on the idea, she’s hasn’t really changed her tune.

“I don’t know what’s applicable quite frankly,” she said. “I appreciate culture but I’m not quite sure what the proper thing is. But I know what isn’t. At this stage in my life – I’m 81 – I don’t get too strong gut reactions on things but I usually know to trust it.”

One thought she had was that a steamboat or a ferry boat might be a more appropriate representation of West Kelowna’s connection to Okanagan Lake.

While council supported the idea of the winery going ahead, they wanted time to consider the proposal, hear from the developer and the public before giving the final go-ahead.

“It’s running about 90 per cent against it in terms of public opinion because it’s out of place,” Coun. Doug Findlater said. He was the one who suggested the pause button be pressed on the lighthouse idea so there was time to get public feedback.

Some of the suggestions he’s heard are for another bell tower like Mission Hill Winery or, since it’s across the highway from Gorman’s lumber mill, a beehive burner. A giant goat or a windmill were other suggestions he’s heard.

“I don’t know how that (windmill) fits with West Kelowna but perhaps it fits a bit better than a lighthouse on a mountain,” Findlater said.

He’s also heard concern about light pollution from a lighthouse and noted that NAV Canada has to be consulted because it’s an eight storey tower on a hilltop.

Zanon did make the comment at the council meeting that there are no lighthouses on Okanagan Lake. That may be true but there is a Lighthouse RV Park that has been around since the 1980s in what is now West Kelowna.

Lighthouse RV Park has existed in West Kelowna for decades.
Lighthouse RV Park has existed in West Kelowna for decades.
Image Credit: Google maps

“I think it’s great,” park manager Gudrun Magis told iNFOnews. “It would be something different. It would be something to talk about. It would probably draw people there just to look at it.”

The Lighthouse RV Park was once part of the Mariner’s Reef water slide attraction, which is where the lighthouse name came from, even though there is no actual lighthouse there.

READ MORE: The business of summer fun: How one Vernon water slide business stood the test of time

For Zanon, one of her key objections is that the city’s Official Community Plan talks about that area being a gateway to the city so there should be something special that residents decide on to mark that entrance.

“I seems to me that there’s a lot of history here that could be used as a theme for somebody that’s a little bit more culturally sensitive,” she said.

Are you good with the Lighthouse in West Kelowna? Let us know what you think would be a culturally and historically appropriate structure for Goats Peak Winery in the comments below.


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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