POA Board candidates discuss greatest challenge facing the POA and how being elected will make a difference

Pictured on the top row from left are Brian Bock, Timothy Cook, and Chris Poland. Pictured on the bottom row from left are Carl Gardner, Bradley Foland, and Renee Griffiths. Photos provided by the Canyon Lake POA.

Three of the five seats on the Canyon Lake POA Board are up for election in May when the two-year terms of Chris Poland, Jeanne O’Dell, and Tom Nathan end. Poland is seeking a second term, O’Dell has decided not to run for a second term, and Nathan has served two two-year terms and is not eligible for another term.

Canyon Lake Insider invited the six candidates, Brian Bock, Timothy Cook, incumbent Chris Poland, Carl Gardner, Bradley Foland, and Renee Griffiths, to answer a series of questions in the weeks leading up to the election.

During this period, residents will have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates and learn what they hope to accomplish if they are elected to serve on the board.

The order of the candidates will rotate each week, providing each candidate the opportunity to be heard first.

This week, the six candidates were invited to answer the following question in 400 or fewer words: What do you believe is the greatest challenge(s) facing the POA at this time and how will you being elected make a difference?

Bradley Foland

Our POA is a nonprofit corporation and with any successful nonprofit, there are always many challenges. We are very unique in that our facilities can be potentially profitable businesses, in comparison to a basic HOA. I believe one of our many challenges is operating these association businesses successfully.

At this time, our golf course and Lighthouse Restaurant operate at a loss. If we, the POA, can come together with ideas and solutions to facilitate a profit from these venues, we can combat the ever-increasing utilities and costs for the association. Doing so will negate the need to increase dues to the members. If elected to the board, here are some of the difference that I will make towards this challenge:

  • Facilitate communication with the community and give opportunities to present their thoughts and ideas on making these businesses successful.
  • Create more events at the Lighthouse Restaurant that are similar to our very successful Taco Tuesdays. Also, provide month-long holiday-themed events.
  • Explore ideas of order/takeout delivery services utilizing the common use dock at the lodge.
  • Propose a small convenient snack shop catering to boaters, fishermen, women, pool users, children, and all members. This can be done by utilizing existing space below the Lighthouse Restaurant.

Another major challenge of the POA is connecting and getting community involvement from the association as a whole. Many conversations with past board members have expressed that communication to reach all members is an issue and is of the utmost importance.

Regarding the members of the association, there is still a percentage who either don’t receive information, haven’t signed up for community alerts, or are misinformed because they are not receiving full and transparent community information.

If elected to the board, I will continue to explore/research new and convenient ways to ensure all members are being reached. A few ideas:

First, I will facilitate a better opportunity for individuals to express their preferences on being informed; this will allow for alternative solutions that will accomplish meeting the needs of the members.

Create a community outreach team of volunteers who can personally meet with members to help connect them to the platforms we currently use for informational disbursement.

If we work together we can create a more successful community.

Carl Gardner

Editor’s note: We did not receive an answer from Carl Gardner this week.

Renee Griffiths

I believe the greatest challenge facing the POA Board is finances. The shared concern of the members is the rising cost of our dues. Our members understand that everything is becoming more expensive. However, many are uneasy with how the POA Board chooses to spend money. If I am elected to the POA Board, I will work with my fellow directors to determine the projects that are needed and the projects that are desired.

I joined the finance committee in 2019. Since then, I have been continuously impressed with how this committee closely watches how our money is being spent in each department. Being part of this team has given me keen insight that I will use to help make effective financial decisions.

While we know certain items will increase each year, like the lake lease, community patrol, wages, electricity, and water, we also know that the board will need to find a balance in the contributions to the three reserve funds to prevent a dramatic increase in our dues.

If elected, I will closely watch how our monies in the Capital Improvement Project and Repair and Replacement Reserves are spent. Transparency and accountability from the general manager will be paramount in making certain that our money is spent wisely on projects our community, through the board, have requested. In addition, I will
recommend that we establish a limit on contributions to the Capital Improvement Project Reserve.

I will also work with our staff to create ways to generate more revenue. For example, increasing revenue to our restaurants will have a direct result in reducing the subsidy required.

There are many other challenges, present, and future, that the POA Board will have to navigate through. Please know that I am all in. For more information about my viewpoints, visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Vote4reneeclpoaboard-110295684456421. Thank you for your consideration.

Chris Poland

The greatest challenges facing the POA Board at this time include restoring a sense of peace and comradery to the community, validating the focused vision of who we want to be going forward, and maintaining a stable, financially sound Association.  

Restoring peace and comradery to Canyon Lake will not be easy nor can it be quickly done. A full year of COVID-19 isolation has denied us the opportunity to socialize at a community scale, carry out our traditional celebrations, and interact face-to-face within our committees, clubs, and with the board at the regular monthly meetings.

As COVID 19 isolation fades, opportunities will return for us to interact as people, face-to-face, and not just as names on social media sites. While rules will continue to be relaxed or added, the biggest change will come if we each commit to creating a peaceful environment for our neighbors. If re-elected, I will continue to do the hard work of understanding the various points of view and finding a middle ground for the issues that the board needs to act on.

At the beginning of my term as president this year, I led the board through an exercise of agreeing on a set of core values, purpose, vision, and 2020-2021 goals. These “board principles” provided us a focused vision of what we were striving for and how we intended to operate to get there. In every decision we made, we were faithful to our principles. Each board should start with this discipline, especially if they seek to change our financial model. If re-elected, I will be supportive of the principles established by the new board.

Our “little bit of paradise” includes amenities, facilities, and grounds with a replacement value of about $30 million, 37 miles of roads, and has an operating budget of just over $18 million. We have a sound, detailed, and complex budgeting process that is overseen by our seven-member Finance Committee. It has allowed us to continue to operate with a surprising low per lot assessment. This has not always been the case.

This association filed for bankruptcy in 1990 after proper planning and spending were not followed. The reorganization order required a five-year special assessment against all lots and modifications to the Bylaws. If re-elected, I will insist that we continue to implement and refine our budgeting process to match our board principles and maintain our stable financial condition.  

Brian Bock

The greatest challenge facing the POA at this time is the loss of trust in our leaders, in the eyes of our residents, and something that electing me to the board will change – overnight.

This election cycle, it’s not simply one issue: flags, north lake, dues, term length, spending, Sierra North, general manager promotion, and lodge renovations, to name a “few.”  No, it’s all of these and much more.

Frankly, each of these, how presented to us (or often not presented) and handled by our POA Board, have unfortunately destroyed our trust in our leaders. Given the 400-word limit, I will not re-visit every action/failure as to its development, handling, process attempted to “resolve,” and ultimate execution, but simply say each re-empathizes the belief that it is – now more than ever-  time to change the way things are done.

Modern-day strategist Stephen Covey teaches in his life-changing book: The Speed of Trust, that:

  • Trust means confidence; the opposite of trust – distrust – is suspicion.
  • Relationships of all kinds are built on and sustained by trust. They can also be broken down and destroyed by a lack of trust.

From inception, our next POA Board and its administration need to begin each new plan, proposal, issue of concern, etc. with these basic premises and ask itself:

  • Were the residents properly informed;
  • Have residents been able to provide input;
  • Have all other available means been exhausted;
  • Is the action legal and pragmatic under the circumstances; and
  • Does the board and its administration truly know and understand why we are needing to take this action?

In essence, has the board established the residents’ trust?

Now ask yourself: regardless of your politics or leanings on the many issues faced this year, in general, living here in Canyon Lake – Do I trust the POA to fairly, ethically, efficiently, and effectively lead? Sadly, few of us can say “yes,” at this time. This is why I decided to run for the board and, now more than ever, believe that we must all #BeTheChange…Together for a Better Canyon Lake.

Timothy Cook

The greatest challenge facing the POA I believe is the division in our community. We need board members who can put aside their own agendas and opinions and really listen. Listen to their legal team, listen to their fellow board members, listen to the committees designed to aid the board, and most importantly listen to the community.

Take advantage of the managers, remaining board members, and staff with the experience to aid us in representing the community. Take advantage of the experience of the committee members, listen and use their knowledge to best represent the community.

Most important, listen to the residents and members. Hold more workshops to get input and information from the community. Take polls from the community to get a better feel of their desires within the community. Be open and transparent. Be accessible to every resident. Be able to listen and understand their needs and willing to put my own aside for the better of the community. Be able to make the decisions to improve the community regardless of my opinion. The residents’ opinion is what matters. We are elected to represent the members.

Work with the clubs, be patient, and understanding. I believe if we can sit down and talk rationally, there is nothing we can’t achieve. Communication is the key. Negotiation and compromise. Regardless of my personal views, work together to make the tough decisions that bring us together.  

I believe that if I am elected, I can be that person willing to put my own beliefs aside to make the tough decisions fairly. I believe I can aid in bringing the clubs together to make compromises within the lake to benefit all. I know I can take the wisdom, advice, and input from the community to do what they feel is best for them as a whole. If elected, I am here not as a leader but as a representative of the community members.

I have sincere hopes in uniting our community again and I am willing to listen to all. Not one side or the other, all. Like I’ve said before, times have been tough on every family. Financially, stressfully with current events, and being cooped up. Let’s learn to work together to make our community the best it can be. Live and let live. Love thy neighbor. Put aside pride and do what’s best for all of us.

Editor’s note: Last week, Canyon Lake Insider asked the candidates how they propose to enhance the environment for youth in the community. To view their answers, click here.

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