City carries on under ‘Local State of Emergency’

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An in-depth update about Canyon Lake’s fire services and the formation of the new municipal fire department wasn’t available in time for Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting and Wednesday’s City Council meeting. Mayor Jordan Ehrenkranz said Tuesday that the Council is not withholding information from citizens; certain information simply isn’t yet available from the County of Riverside.

However, at Wednesday’s City Council Meeting, the Mayor announced that the City had received draft agreements from the County on Tuesday evening in connection with the City’s ongoing discussions with the County to settle their litigation and to provide ongoing fire services to Canyon Lake residents while the City works on forming its own department. While details on the agreements could not be released, the finalized documents will be publicly adopted in the coming weeks.

The Friday Flyer teen columnist and Canyon Lake resident Jasen Williams received a proclamation from Mayor Jordan Ehrenkranz at the City Council meeting on September 2. Jasen attained the rank of Eagle Scout on July 27. Photo by Donna Kupke.

The Friday Flyer teen columnist and Canyon Lake resident Jasen Williams received a proclamation from Mayor Jordan Ehrenkranz at the City Council meeting on September 2. Jasen attained the rank of Eagle Scout on July 27. Photo by Donna Kupke.

Understanding that many community members are anxious for an update, he said, “Rest assured everything is going to be okay. That I can assure you.”

Councilwoman Dawn Haggerty added, “Our hands are tied until certain information is resolved. It will be resolved soon.” Dawn and Jordan make up the City’s Public Safety Committee.

It was explained that confidentiality requirements limit what the City Council members can disclose to citizens about the ongoing discussions with the County, so a sense of frustration was evident Tuesday as Dawn sought to respond to criticism that the City is “fumbling” its efforts to start the new fire department.

She did say the City Council hoped to have a written document to discuss with the community next week. In the meantime, she thanks the County for its efforts on behalf of Canyon Lake and says the “Local State of Emergency” is still in effect.

Recently asked about responses from fire engines that come from outside Canyon Lake’s immediate vicinity, Interim City Manager Ariel Hall said, “We have been told by the County that they are sending the closest resources they have for emergencies. We have not been told anything different. We have received responses from Lake Elsinore stations during this State of Emergency (which we received an invoice and paid for), and have not had any indication from our surrounding cities or from County Fire officials that the situation has changed.”

Ariel says American Medical Response (AMR) continues to respond to medical emergencies as it always has done, and residents should continue to call 911 in any emergency to receive a response. The private ambulance company is under contract with the Riverside County Emergency Medical Services Agency to respond to medical emergencies in Canyon Lake within 10 minutes.

AMR response times are not included in the dispatch log provided to the City Manager by the Riverside County Dispatch Center.

Ariel explains that, while the County dispatch log shows there are 911 public assistance calls that AMR and County Fire do not respond to in Canyon Lake, the City’s Special Enforcement officers do try to respond on most occasions. (Public assistance calls are not medical emergencies and often involve a person who has fallen and needs assistance getting into a bed or wheelchair.)

Ariel says the City would welcome volunteers who would be willing to undergo screening in order to help their neighbors on such occasions. The City is looking for individuals who have a background in fire or emergency medical services who would be physically capable of responding to and lifting individuals.

If any residents are interested in volunteering to help with public service assistance calls, they are asked to email Ariel Hall at amhall@cityofcanyonlake.com to arrange for screening.

Landscape Maintenance

In other City news, residents who have noticed tumbleweeds popping up in the Railroad Canyon Rd. median will be pleased to learn that the City Council awarded a new contract for landscape maintenance at Wednesday’s meeting.

After distributing a notice inviting bids in July, and doing a walk-through of the site to note current conditions and the need for a one-time thorough cleanup, the City received bids from four companies. Staff determined that CTAI Greenscape is the lowest responsive bidder, charging $5,200 monthly and $62,400 annually.

This company will be providing maintenance services to the landscaping in the medians and parkways twice a week, and will begin with a one-time major cleanup of the landscape to bring it back up to par..

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Sharon Rice