Clubhouse from the lake

POA approves revised plant list, updated rules, planning committee members

BY BARBARA SCHNEIDER, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The POA board approved Big Canoe’s updated rules and regulations, the revised plant list and long-range planning committee members at the Thursday, April 18 voting session held in The Clubhouse at Lake Sconti.

The board voted unanimously to approve updated rules and regulations, which included revisions to A2. Violations of a Serious Nature, A4. Control of Domestic Pets, A7. Restrictions on Parking and Advertising Vehicles, A11. Wildlife care and Feeding, A16. Rules for Nuisance Noise and Lighting, and A18. Rules of Conduct in Amenities.

Based on feedback from the community, the board reevaluated the Swim Club’s summer food service and decided to allow outside food but not alcoholic beverages and to provide bar service at the Swim Club, General Manager Jill Philmon reported at the April 11 work session.

The rule change reflected in A.18 Rules of Conduct in the Amenities, 2. Rules, 2.1 now reads: “Alcoholic beverages are not permitted to be brought into the aquatic area of the Swim Club. Outside food is permitted to be brought in to the Swim Club amenity but not allowed on the beach.”

The part about not allowing food on the beach was a Georgia Department of Natural Resources recommendation, said Director of Operations Jason Brownell at the April 11 work session, referring to an incident with a bear going after food at the Swim Club beach in 2018.

Rule 2, 22 states: “Outside food and beverages are allowed in the Wildcat Recreation area.

Revised plant list approved

The latest iteration of the revised Big Canoe plant list was approved by a 5-1 vote with POA Director Lou Stephenson voting no and POA Director Dudley DeVore absent from the voting session.

“We’ve had so many meetings and so much input over the weeks,” Philmon said prior to the vote. After previous discussions, “we took all the comments—changes were made and are included in the list sent out ahead of the April 18 meeting.”

“This has been a difficult issue for the community,” said POA President Jay Goldman as he introduced the revised plant list vote.

“Reasonable people can disagree but at some point, we have to decide what’s a reasonable answer.” After the vote he thanked everyone involved in the process, including those who didn’t necessarily agree. ‘Without your persistence and thoughtfulness, we might not have reached this compromise.”

Any plant now in the ground is grandfathered in, said Philmon at the April 11 work session. Hemlocks have been added back to the list but property owners have to notify landscaping so these plants can be checked and treated for disease (especially woolly adelgids) before they are planted. “If you have a hemlock that hasn’t been treated, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,” said Philmon.

Property owners who aren’t sure if their hemlocks have been treated can look for a red dot on the base of the hemlock’s trunk on the side facing away from the street, Brownell said.

The POA made concessions for any camelias, rhododendrons, azaleas, and viburnum. A new plant list and Q&A was released with the read ahead materials for the April 18 work session.

The POA board voted unanimously to approve one new member to the long-range planning committee (LRPC) and to extend the term of three members by one year.

Hal Bish, LRPC chair, had requested Richard Cloud, the new member with structural engineering expertise, be added for a three-year term. He also asked that Bruce Toups, Wayne Huey and Taylor Leonard—three members whose terms were expiring—be appointed for another year.

Quarterly budget comments

Ralph Ripley, finance committee chair, reporting on the quarterly budget, said, “Revenue and operating expenses are near budget.”

Looking at year-to-date performance of The Clubhouse at Lake Sconti, he said, “Based on our review some changes are necessary . . . there are serious limitations with the kitchen we are working with.” He referenced recent kitchen problems including a grill fire.

He added that club events for organizations that require set up but don’t produce revenue as well as events that “people sign up for and then don’t show up” can put a burden on cost controls and revenue. He expects to have more data for the next report. “The first quarter is typically the worst of the season,” he said.

“We are receiving a lot of financial requests,” said Goldman, for a relatively small staff to handle. “We want to respond in a timely manner but please be patient. The POA board wants to respond to relevant questions.

“Sometimes conclusions reached by others are erroneous consequences and broadcast over social media—with unintended consequences,” he added. “It’s hurting the community and turning off prospective home buyers.”

In other board business covered at the POA’s April 11 work session:

Property Owner survey: The board announced the property owner amenity survey conducted by Chambers (consulting group) is now available to be reviewed online. This survey summary and the full report focused on property owners’ “wants” via amenity focus groups and a property owner survey with 1,900 responses. The long-range planning committee and finance committee will put a plan together and make recommendations. In May, the board will host a gathering to present recommendations for all aspects and upgrades to property owners.

Utilities Inc of Ga. (UIG) update: Ron Medders, UIG operation director at its Big Canoe facility, presented his report. “We are now catching up on paving areas where fixing leaks necessitated road repairs.

Leakage water loss is now approximately 62-64 percent, he said. “We have identified about 45 percent more loss as UIG has tried to maintain tanks at higher levels. We have sealed up countless leaks and also increased pressure. Casey and his group go out daily looking for leaks. We hope to be under 50 percent water loss by year end.”

It appears UIG’s measure of water loss is more accurate that the former Big Canoe Utility Company, according to Medders.

“Water loss in the Pickens County and Blue Ridge area systems is about 40-43 percent,” he said. “In mountainous areas it’s a more constant battle than in flatter areas.”

Overall UIG’s spending on repairs/improvements is right on budget, he said. Medders is encouraging all Big Canoe property owners to sign up for the UIG’s My Utility application. “So far, 500 have signed up,” he said.

The POA board’s May work session will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 16 and the voting session is scheduled for Thursday, May 23 in the Clubhouse at Lake Sconti.

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