A new West Kelowna winery could include Canada's tallest lighthouse.
At a proposed height of 35 metres on the north slope of Goat's Peak, it would also be the tallest building in West Kelowna.
"We want this place to be a 'beacon' for tourism and local pride," applicant Darrel Monette writes in a letter to the city.
Design of the proposed lighthouse is said by Monette to be inspired by real and imaginary structures as varied as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, Big Ben in London, and the Tower of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings book.
"We started developing the idea of building a 'towering beacon' on the hillside of Goat's Peak, a new landmark that will show the world how great this town truly is," Monette says.
City council's approval is necessary because the proposed lighthouse would be more than twice as high as current building regulations allow.
On Tuesday, council voted to defer a decision pending more information on exactly what the proposed lighthouse would look like. Some councillors said they were dismayed by the artist rendering presented to them.
"I'm disappointed in the renderings. I think there could have been significantly more work done there," Coun. Jayson Zilkie said.
"Let's get a clearer picture of it," added Coun. Stephen Johnston.
Mayor Gord Milsom said the lighthouse would be a unique tourism attraction. "I would certainly consider it," he said. "I can just imagine all the advertising."
But Coun. Carol Zanon noted there are no lighthouses on Okanagan Lake, and said the proposal doesn't reflect anything of West Kelowna's culture or history.
She also slammed the lighthouse design: "I deplore this as the epitome of bad taste."
Municipal planners had recommended council grant the necessary height variance, saying the winery would support agriculture and create jobs.
"The proposed building style of a lighthouse would be unique in the region and a one-of-a-kind landmark," planner Hailey Rilkoff writes in a report to council.
The 17-acre winery development site is east of the intersection of Highway 87 and Glenrosa Road, across from Gorman's mill. It has Goat's Peak Winery as a working name.
Plans show a 6,000-square-foot production facility and the 1,200 square-foot lighthouse-shaped tasting room offering views of West Kelowna, Okanagan Lake, and Kelowna.
Lighthouse architect Tim Sahuri says the building would not block anyone's views, as there are no homes on Goat's Peak. A separate development application, however, foresees about 900 homes in the area.
At 35 metres, the proposed lighthouse would be 10 metres higher than the bell tower at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery. It would also be one metre above the tallest lighthouse in Canada, Cap-des-Rosiers on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.