Candidates discuss front gate improvements


Tom Nathan, Phil Hawgood, Paul Chenette and Michael Harris have announced their candidacy to run for a seat on the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association Board of Directors. The seats currently held by Bruce Yarbrough, Eric Spitzer and Edward “Ed” Horton are up for election on May 11.

The Friday Flyer invited the four candidates to answer a series of questions. Last week, The Friday Flyer asked the candidates a questions pertaining to subsidies and dues.

In this week’s Q&A, The Friday Flyer asked the candidates what improvements they would like to see to complete the front gate project and if they would support improvements to the other two gates.

Candidates were asked to answer the question in 400 or fewer words. The candidates are listed in order drawn by official lottery as they will appear on the ballot.


What improvements would you like to see to complete the front gate project and would you support improvements to the other two gates?

Tom Nathan

Tom Nathan

Many gated communities display large monument signage to mark an entry point and identify the neighborhood to passersby. Our front gate project has increased the capacity of cars entering the community, but Canyon Lake’s identity was lost in the process. A member recently commented to me that entering through the main gate now looks a lot like going through the parking booths at Dodger stadium. I think the comparison is humorous, but I’d have to agree with him.

Entry gates to private communities are the first impression to all visitors. We need to complete our front gate project with monument walls on both corners along with additional improvements to the median and entry lanes to more clearly identify the different driving paths for members and guests.

A well-designed entry gate could increase property values for all homes within the community. The entry to Canyon Lake should inspire people to become part of the community as well as give pride to all those who already live here.

Each of the three gates into Canyon Lake are important. The technologies implemented with the front gate project should be implemented into each of our Canyon Lake gates. Monument signage in smaller scale should be present at both the east and north gate entries to the Canyon Lake community.

While the gate on Railroad Canyon Rd. is commonly referred to as the “main’ gate, those living nearest either the east or north gates likely consider those to be their “main” gate of use. Each of our three entry gates should function alike and exude a similar sense of security, exclusivity and appeal to all.

Phil Hawgood

Phil Hawgood

Renovation and improvements of the main gate have come a long way, but there are still improvements that I believe need to be made.

First, historically, we have had a magnificent waterfall, so that visitors would know how great our city actually is and I believe that we should again add a waterfall fountain. However, given the significant expenses of the main gate so far, we need to be cost conscious.

To that end, I believe we can cut down on the expense of designing the fountain by creating a design competition with a reward of $10,000. We can place ads in and around the county and in local art schools. That way, the board can compare and decide on dozens of different designs with one, low, fixed cost. Moreover, we can even include the members by having the board first select the five best designs and then submit those to the members to select a final design.

I believe a design competition will be a more affordable approach because, compared to the traditional approach, the board would not need to hire an architect, which would require it to pay for every single design. Given that we would want multiple designs, that approach would most certainly cost more than $10,000 and could actually cost upward of $50,000.

Second, the principal improvement to the Main Gate was supposed to be the introduction of an electronic pass system. However, this equipment is so slow that it frequently makes more sense to use the manned decal lane. We should upgrade the technology so that it can both better read the transponders and react much more quickly. This is certainly a necessity before we expand this tech to any other gate.

I personally believe that the overall design of the east gate still looks very good, and may very well be nicer than the newly renovated main gate. As such, given monetary constraints we should do minimal renovations like cleaning and repainting to spruce it up.

Similar to the east gate, the north gate could use some cleaning and repainting. I do not believe that we should invest much money into the north gate because it is our least frequently used gate.

Paul Chenette

Paul Chenette

For many years our main gate entrance had been the welcoming identity to our community. Today, if you don’t live here, driving by you wouldn’t even know what was here. If you do live here and you’re like me, you ask what happened to our identity.

Outside our gates there are new developments, Audie Murphy Ranch and Canyon Hills both with beautiful and welcoming entrances. Why not us? Let’s be honest, our gates are not beautiful, not welcoming and don’t give a preview to what you are about to enter.

I believe we need to beautify and or update all of our entrances, first and foremost the main entrance.  With that said, I know the Facility Review Committee is working on drawings and renditions and a plan to accomplish that at the main gate.

In regards to the east and north gates, I would definitely support improvements to both with a priority of the east gate. However, I would love to get input from the community on what they would like to see at these gates.

Michael Harris

Michael Harris

The POA submitted sixteen designs for the entrance signage on the website for members to review and vote on the design they favored. I have not seen the results of this survey nor how many members participated. However, the Facilities Review Committee conducted a survey for future projects to be incorporated into the long-range planning and the number one item receiving seventy-two votes was a water feature at the main gate. Another popular idea was a pre-gate structure at the main gate.

I personally believe, before committing to any improvements for the front gate I would review the original signed contract and any amendments. It is very difficult to jump into a position as a board director without knowing the history of an incomplete project. I would also want to review the as-built plans with the red lines marking all changes, and all change orders submitted and paid.

After reviewing the above mentioned items, I would be able to make an intelligent decision on how to proceed with any improvements needed to complete the front gate entry and landscaping. Errors and omissions is a standard practice for construction contracts and should be enforced in all future negotiations.

The water feature should be incorporated into the final design. I agree with the overall recommendation that a pre-gate structure be placed over the guard booths predicated on the cost factor. A pre-gate structure would provide relief from the sun and rain elements and would reduce the overuse of the HVAC equipment therefore reducing the overhead costs.

We also need to secure the west greenbelt with a fence to stop someone from walking into the community. Another feature would be a privacy screen in front of the restroom building.

The north and east gates function properly. I would suggest a card reader and gate at the pedestrian entrance at the east gate.

Any other improvements will be on hold until a proper design and cost estimate can be submitted. We need to know what the final cost is before committing any of the members’ money.