Birth of a City: Council tackles tasks in 1st quarter

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The residents of Canyon Lake voted to approve incorporation as a city in November 1990. This series focuses on what was involved in the “birth of a city,” and what happened in Canyon Lake’s first year after incorporation.

 

Canyon Lake’s new City Council got off to a busy start in the first quarter of 1991, 25 years ago.

In February 1991, Councilman Gene Bourbonnais pointed to a sign mistakenly placed at the western boundary of the new City of Canyon Lake, near Canyon Fitness Center. The City Council was baffled as to why the sign was there and determined to look into it.

In February 1991, Councilman Gene Bourbonnais pointed to a sign mistakenly placed at the western boundary of the new City of Canyon Lake, near Canyon Fitness Center. The City Council was baffled as to why the sign was there and determined to look into it.

Mayor Pro Tem Annabelle Bates decided the new City needed its own logo, different from the one used by the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association. The City Council approved this idea and decided to have a contest to design the new logo, open to Canyon Lake residents.

The City Council was baffled by a misplaced “Riverside County Line” sign that was erected on the City’s west border. According to Councilman Gene Bourbonnais, who headed the Public Works Committee, no one seemed to know why it was put there, but he and the other Council members intended to do something about it.

Quick action by the Council foiled the plans of a company that had planned to place a billboard on Railroad Canyon Rd., passing an interim urgency zoning ordinance to prohibit all outdoor advertising displays.

Mayor Al Trembly and Annabelle were on a steering committee that was reviewing some 42 resumes that had been received for the position of city manager. The Council had asked neighboring Temecula City Manager Dave Dixon to serve on the steering committee as well.

While it continued its search for a new city manager, the City Council hired Canyon Lake resident Kathy Bennett to serve as city clerk. Kathy had previously worked for Dr. Brij Pandey, and prior to that for Dr. Harley Finkle, both of whom had offices in Canyon Lake.

At the March City Council meeting, a representative from Kaufman and Broad presented information on the firm’s master-planned community, Canyon Heights, scheduled for development in the unincorporated area of Quail Valley. It would encompass 275 acres with 750 single-family homes. Councilman Jack Wamsley, who also served as CLPOA president, thought it would be a good idea for the presentation to be made at a televised POA meeting.

The City Council was attempting to deal with the continuing problem of big rig trucks and vehicles for sale parked along Railroad Canyon Rd. A public hearing was held to consider a ban on such parking.

On the recommendation of Interim City Manager Fred Christiansen, the City Council voted to contract with the Lake Elsinore Animal Friends (LEAF) to provide animal control services.

The Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Department discussed the problem of undocumented workers who gathered in the valley in search of employment. Sheriff’s officers had been called to disperse “crowds of men from Mexico and Central America” who had been congregating near Round-Up Jr. Mart at the East Gate, hoping for work inside Canyon Lake.

On one occasion, 15 Guatemalans were apprehended while 45 others avoided the patrol by running, some of them jumping over the perimeter fence into Canyon Lake. An officer said the problem would continue as long as Canyon Lake contractors and landscapers were willing to hire them.

In the meantime, seven men were named to a Public Safety Committee to survey Canyon Lake’s law enforcement needs and evaluate which agencies would best meet those needs. Tom Smith was appointed to lead the group, whose members had the combined experience of 75 years of law enforcement, 12 years of fire service/arson investigation and 60 years of education/administrative experience.

The committee members were assigned to look at statistics from the POA, Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Department, Pinkerton and BLM, among others, to gather all the facts and figures available on the property within the new city boundaries. They also were evaluating the Perris Police Department and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department to discover which agency could best serve Canyon Lake’s needs.

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