Vancouver Sun Feature
In the early days of the Central Okanagan,vehicle traffic, cargo, and passengers coming from down Penticton way had to board a ferry to cross “the narrows,” a natural pinch point in Okanagan Lake to get to Kelowna.
Needless to say, completion of the Floating Bridge in 1952 and the new William R. Bennett Bridge — named after the Social Credit premier from 1975 to 1983 — greatly enhanced the fortunes of Kelowna’s burgeoning agricultural, transportation, and tourism industries and rendered the ferry dock and its ships obsolete. (Interesting historic fact: before the construction of the Floating Bridge in 1952, Penticton and Kelowna were roughly the same size.)
Despite its stunning location just a stone’s throw from Highway 97 and the bridge, this conspicuously vacant piece of land is only now being developed. A brand new marina and beach at the site of the long-since abandoned ferry wharf is part of West Harbour Estates, a 44-acre property developed by Troika, a Kelowna firm, in conjunction with the Westbank First Nations. Conceived as an “exemplary lakefront village,” West Harbour Estates takes advantage of a truly stunning natural location on a flat benchland overlooking the lake, the new William R. Bennett Bridge (very easily accessed from West Harbour) and right up the northern portion of the lake, bounded by the craggy, grass covered hillsides on both sides of the lake.