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Lure of Loch Ness legend feeds Ogopogo interest in Peachland

Group wants to carve a 25-foot statue of the creature and donate it to the district
Ogopogo statue at Paul’s Tomb in Kelowna. (Youtube screenshot from colintube1)

You may not have heard of Drumnadrochit, Scotland, but you likely know about its most famous nearby resident.

The village of 1,000 people lies on the west shore of the body of water that is home to the elusive Loch Ness Monster.

Approximately 6,700 kilometres to the west of Drumnadrochit lies another small community with its own ‘monster of notoriety’ - Peachland.

It’s there that a group of residents want to bring the world to their doorstep by enshrining Ogopogo, n ̓x̌ax̌aitkʷ in the Syilx language, in a massive wood carving that would presumably take up residence along the shore of Okanagan Lake in the community.

“People can sit down and have their picture taken with the Ogopogo with Rattlesnake Island (in the background),” said Lee Etherington.

Etherington, a wood carver, told Peachland council that the statue would be about 25 feet long, and eight to 10 feet high.

He added he would stay true to the legend of n ̓x̌ax̌aitkʷ.

“Create something that looks like as it is described in the stories of the Westbank First Nation,” he promised.

Bruce Klippenstein, who is working with Etherington, told council of Drunmadrochit’s fortunes with Nessie.

They include half a million visitors a year who spend up to $70 million in the village.

‘We have a world-worthy attraction and we need to harness it,” Klippenstein added. “You have the opportunity to kick-start a major tourist attraction for Peachland and I hope you’ll take advantage of it.”

He pointed out that Ogopogo is already well-known around the world and lives right across the lake on Rattlesnake Island.

“The WFN and other First Nations agree that’s where he lives, the province of B.C. agrees that’s where he lives.”

Klippenstein also noted that a previous council passed a motion in 2000 declaring that Ogopogo lives on the island.

He also believes the project could make a major contribution to truth and reconciliation with WFN.

“We’re working with them and we want them to start promoting n ̓x̌ax̌aitkʷ as a tourist attraction and they’re thinking about it,” Klippenstein added.

Klipperstein says he owns the trademark for Ogopogo and WFN owns the trademark for n ̓x̌ax̌aitkʷ.

Etherington said the group would raise all the needed funding, carve the statue, and donate it to the district.

All that would be needed then is a place to put it.

Etherington said he envisions a launch celebration and possibly a ‘spirit of the lake festival’ every year.

Council has directed staff to work with the group and bring a recommendation forward for consideration at a later meeting.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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