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West Kelowna  

West Kelowna rejects proposal for winery lookout tower

Winery tower crushed

A wine tasting building proposed for Goat's Peak Winery will not become the tallest structure in West Kelowna.

Developers of Goat's Peak Winery had originally proposed a 35 metre tall tasting facility in the form of a lighthouse.

Council deferred a decision on that design after giving it a lukewarm reception, prompting winery owner Darrel Monette to scrap the lighthouse in favour of a more slender, concrete structure.

At 35 metres, the building would easily be the tallest in the city, 10 metres taller than the bell tower at Mission Hill Winery.

Monette is seeking a non-farm use in order to construct the building on ALR land and, at the same time, is asking the city for a height variance. The maximum height allowed is 15 metres.

City planning manager Brent Magnan said the new iteration of the tasting room tower is a "significant redesign" over the lighthouse, but added height was still an issue.

If approved, he told council the city would have to spend about $250,000 on a new training program for the West Kelowna Fire Department.

Fire Chief Jason Brolund suggested the costs, including about $150,000 in training alone, could be spread over two years. Training and equipment would be required before the building opened to the public.

The expenditure was a non-starter for Coun. Rick de Jong, who didn't see the need for a 35 metre "lookout tower."

"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 provide homes for people to live in," he said.

"This proposal does none of that."

De Jong says it's no secret the new Official Community Plan will include highrises in city, but says that should be the driving force behind investing money for firefighter training, not something like this.

Coun. Doug Findlater called the money a "business subsidy," and didn't agree with spending it this way.

Speaking in favour of the tower, Coun. Jason Friesen argued the money has to be spent sometime and, whether it's for this building or something else doesn't matter.

He also applauded the winery for coming back with a "classy building."

"We have to remember that part of tourism is about the experience so, yes, it's a lookout tower, but it's an experience," said Friesen.

"We want to create experiences for our residents, experiences for our tourists, and we have to spend the money anyway."

The tower idea was voted down 4-2, with only councillors Friesen and Jayson Zilkie voting in support.



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