West Kelowna rejected a proposal for a 35-metre tower at Goats Peak Winery, citing high costs of required firefighting training if the tower was to be built.
The proposal, which was first brought to council last October, included a tower to accommodate the winery’s tasting room and allow visitors to see views of the facility. The tower would qualify as a highrise, meaning West Kelowna Fire Rescue would have to develop a new training program and evaluate life safety and fire suppression requirements. The total cost of developing a new program would be around $200,000, according to city staff.
“What I see here is somebody wants a lookout tower. Somebody wants another signature building within West Kelowna, and that’s the only rationale I’m finding here. When I look at having to spend $200,000 on firefighting training for that kind of structure, that kind of investment should be put in high rise residential structures where those apartments are paying taxes and people are living in them,” said councillor Rick de Jong at a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24
Mayor Gord Milsom agreed. “I’m having trouble seeing how this building will be a potential symbol for the community… Sure, I can see it being a landmark for the wine trail but as far as the public benefit… I guess it’s another way of looking at the sky,” he said.
Some councillors supported the project, however. “The $200,000 has to be spent at some point. There are going to be high rises and we will have high rises… To me, the timing is irrelevant. We are not subsidizing anything. We are going to have to spend that money,” said councillor Jason Friesen.
The tower was proposed as part of the Goats Peak Winery development, a new winery under construction at 2990 Seclusion Bay Road in West Kelowna. The original proposal included plans for a lighthouse at the same height but was postponed by council last October.
The developer revised the proposal twice, the latest of which was presented — and quashed — at Tuesday’s meeting.