POA Board meet-and-greet allows for in-person exchange with larger Big Canoe community

By POA Staff

On the heels of the Town Hall meeting held last month, the POA Board held an informal meet-and-greet with Property Owners at the Beach Club on Aug. 19.

The more than two dozen attendees had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Board members before sharing comments and posing a range of questions. Board members collectively or individually addressed numerous subjects, many of which are address below.

For any question relating to operation issues, those on hand were instructed to write directly to the POA via askthepoa@bigcanoepoa.org or by clicking the “Ask the POA” button when logging on the POA homepage at www.bigcanoepoa.org

Among the issues raised at the meet-and-greet:

Q: The Wellness Center has 1) new equipment that is not ideal/doesn’t work as advertised and 2) needs to be maintained better. What is being done to improve the amenity?

A: No amenity had as many obstacles to overcome as the Wellness Center, which has slowly been rebuilding its membership base since its facility reopened in the spring. The POA recognizes that the Property Owners should weigh in on a range of subjects relating to the Wellness Center, from what they think about the recently installed Free Motion equipment to proposed revisions to the programming or the operational schedule at the Wellness Center. As a result, look for an upcoming survey about the Wellness Center designed to measure the sentiments of our community and the amenity. The results will directly inform future actions that will improve the Wellness Center.

Q: How is the Clubhouse being maintained? Is the staff responsible for keeping it in tip-top shape?

A: The Clubhouse in many ways is the community’s central meeting place and the POA is committed to ensuring it’s a clean, well-run gathering hub we can all be proud of. As a result, we’ve recently hired a new food and beverage manager in Jonathan Prince; have brought back the Sunday brunch; and have expanded hours to include dinners on Tuesday. The POA strives to ensure that our community has a great meeting place that all can call our own, and steps are constantly being made to ensure that the Clubhouse under new leadership maintains high standards.

Q: What is Big Canoe doing to manage short-term rentals?

A: The issue of short-term rentals comes up every summer, but it’s important to note that less than 9 percent of Property Owners rent out their homes – there are about a total of 230 rentals in Big Canoe, which has about 2700 homes. Dawson County has recently stepped up efforts to have Big Canoe Property Owners with homes in Dawson County secure a short-term rental permit through the county at an annual cost of $200. Like a hotel, Property Owners also must pay the county an 8% hotel/motel tax to the county either directly or through a third party such as Airbnb or VRBO. On Tuesday, POA General Manager Scott Auer and Board member Amy Tropfenbaum met with Pickens County officials to better understand the county’s permit requirements for Big Canoe Property Owners whose rental homes are in Pickens County. Our aim is to ensure that houses do not become makeshift hotels and that they do not exceed a home’s occupancy.

Q: What are we doing to educate new Property Owners about restrictions around using the trash facility?

A:  This question was posed by a Property Owner who spotted a newcomer dispose of an old mattress in the trash compact. First off, newcomers are provided with a detailed document explaining what items are allowed in the trash and recycling facility. Tossing large items such as a mattress is prohibited. The POA has used the cameras positioned near the facility to track down offenders and cite them – most often when their actions lead to the garbage backing up. Any large items can readily be dropped off on quarterly Bulk Trash Day. The next one is behind the trash facility 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30. For more info on Bulk Trash Day: trashtogo@gmail.com

Q: Can we expect to see the return of the food trailer?

A: These days, one of the biggest issues with any business in the food service industry has been staffing. Big Canoe is no different. As a result, our emphasis has been to prioritize Clubhouse service and you can see the results in the recent expansion of the Tuesday schedule and the return of brunch. Staffing the food trailer is not yet possible as it takes away the already limited number of servers and kitchen staff that we depend on in the Clubhouse. Since great food and service at the Clubhouse are our priority, we do not have any immediate plans to use the food trailer.  We will reevaluate this constantly as staffing conditions change.

Q: What’s happening to the bamboo thicket at the bridge in Choctaw village?

A: Addressing invasive species is something landscape maintenance prioritizes, especially with other, more aggressive or damaging species such as wooly adelgid, the sap-sucking insect capable of devastating our hemlock population; and kudzu, the ever-insistent vine that can quickly envelop a tree. However, the removal of bamboo is a very time-consuming and costly process. Landscape maintenance is in discussions with community groups in Big Canoe interested in volunteering their time to address the issue.

Q: Do we have a strategic plan for soil erosion?

A: The POA has been engaging with Property Owners with interest in developing a strategic plan for Big Canoe’s natural resources. Also, an experienced ecologist from Georgia Forest Watch, a non-profit that promotes forest preservation, will tour our community this week to help POA staff assess the conditions of our wooded areas and our water quality. We’ll have more details in the coming months.



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