A Second Look at West Kelowna's Gellatly Point and Bay

A look back at Gellatly Bay

In the archival image (above top), only two significant structures can be seen next to a dock on Gellatly Point, from which the sternwheeler SS Okanagan had just departed sometime in 1909.

Much of the area of level ground on the delta appears to be cleared and under cultivation. The clearing and planting on Powers Flat, as it was once known, was probably done by the Gellatly family who gained possession of the delta area in 1900 and began growing a variety of nut tree species.

There appears to be only a few smaller structures (likely houses) and only a couple of roads connecting parts of delta and the steamer dock. In the foreground, (lower right) the hillside appears rugged with no evidence of human influence or development.

The modern day colour photo above was taken in July 2019. It shows the same general area of Gellatly Point, Gellatly Bay and the Powers Creek delta, but from a slightly different perspective.

The delta sits at the edge of Okanagan Lake, below the community of Westbank.

In 2007, Westbank and a number of the surrounding Westside communities and areas were incorporated, making Gellatly Point and the Powers Creek delta all part of the new District Municipality of Westside, which later became a city and changed its name to West Kelowna.

In the modern photo, one can see that the north side of Gellatly Point is dominated by a dozen or more large buildings containing scores of units in the condominium complex known as The Cove Lakeside Resort. There are also a couple of large wharves along with a marina and the public boat launch beside the creek.

Numerous private yachts and boats are moored along the shore and several boats can be seen out on the lake.

Construction of residential subdivisions and infrastructure, and the spread and growth of large trees in the area where the archival photo was taken combined to block the view from that place making it necessary to capture the modern image from a location some distance from the where the original was taken.

A horizontal perspective shift can be seen by locating distant features that appear in both photos (eg. Hills 1, 2 and 3) and observing the apparent angular shift in position these features make, relative to objects in the foreground.

Support your local museums, archives and historical societies who are preserving the local history and heritage we all share. Please email your comments and suggestion onto Terry at [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Terry W. Robertson received a bachelor of science degree in geology from UBC in 1970. His studies included physical geography, surveying and air-photo interpretation. Subsequently, he worked in petroleum exploration, initially based in Calgary and from 1978 to 1988 as an independent geological consultant working from his home the Okanagan.

In 1988, he left the oil industry and participated in the start-up and development of several small businesses in Lake Country, including a travel agency and a community newspaper which he edited and published from 1996 to 2003. With two children in local schools at the time and with a passion for politics, Terry was elected as the Lake Country trustee on the Central Okanagan School Board from 1990 to 2002.

He remains interested in politics and was an active supporter of the “Yes” side in the 2018 B.C. referendum on Proportional Representation. He enjoys getting outdoors, as well as travelling and exploring historic sites and museums. In addition, he likes to write about politics, history and geography.

Terry is interested in obtaining old (pre 1970)  photos of landscapes, street scenes or images of prominent structures from the Okanagan or Thompson region. If you possess any such images that you would permit him to copy and use in a future column, or have any comments about his column, please email him at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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