Serious Matters and A Touch of Whimsy at May Sponsor Group Meeting
Last updated 5/27/2021 at 11:40am
A miniature golf course, proposed on a 1.8-acre property on Palm Canyon Drive across from Borrego Valley Inn, is sure to add a touch of whimsy to Borrego's downtown, and create a destination for tourists and a family-friendly outing for residents and visiting friends and family. The course theme will be the Anza-Borrego desert and Borrego Springs. Hole themes will include Palm Canyon, Christmas Circle, big horn sheep, and rattlesnakes. At least 9 holes will be wheelchair accessible.
The owners, Alessandra and Joe Carll are residents of Oceanside, have wonderful memories of family fun around miniature golf and desire to share their passion for miniature golf with more families through this, their retirement project. They have hired Carole Wylie, Ramona resident and architect, to design the project. Carole is a native San Diegan with family history in the area since 1891. She has a passion for designing architecture that upholds and enhances our San Diego county's unique character.
Carole has designed a ticket booth and a whimsical road sign in the mid-century modern style, designed to spark interest from visitors and residents alike.
Joe Carll and Carole Wylie presented their vision at the Sponsor Group meeting on May 6 and invited community input and feedback. Meeting attendees and Sponsor Group members greeted the concept with enthusiasm, engaged with and responded to the presented design concepts, and appreciated the attention in the design to downward-shielded lighting, use of native, drought-tolerant plants, and no use of live grass or turf on the greens. A suggestion was offered to include interpretive education panels at each hole, which would enhance the visitor experience.
They are getting ready to submit plans to the county building department and promised to keep the community updated with the progress of the project.
In the opinion of this reporter, this project hits all the right notes – a family-friendly attraction to complement our sculptures, a new business in town to generate economic activity, an eco-friendly design that respects our unique environment - dark sky and low water-use. Even the name of the business, Puttin' Around Borrego, evokes relaxation and fun!
Not so fun was the other topic that occupied the Sponsor Group meeting for almost 90 minutes. Dan Denham, Deputy General Manager, San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA), and Kevin Davis, Black and Veatch (consultant to the SDCWA) attended the Sponsor Group meeting to obtain community feedback to the proposed Regional Conveyance System (RCS) to establish a pipeline and tunnel to transfer water from Imperial County to the San Diego coastal communities. This topic has been covered extensively in several past issues of the Borrego Sun, including a careful rebuttal published in a recent issue of the Borrego Sun by Dr. David Garmon of the Tubb Canyon Conservancy. The SDWCA draft report is available online at: https://www.sdcwa.org/annualreport/2020/diversification-and-operation/draft-study-highlights-regions-water-conveyance-options.php
At the outset, Dan Denham indicated that the SDWCA has the responsibility to San Diego ratepayers to conduct due diligence on this alternative and that at this early planning stage no engineering show-stoppers were identified but no environmental impact had been considered. Based on previous feedback, they have considered moving the entrance of the tunnel away from Borrego Springs, to the corner of Route 78 and Borrego Springs Road.
Clint Brandin, President, Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce, requested Dan Denham to clarify potential benefits of the RCS to our community, i.e., Borrego Springs would be able to monetize our depleted aquifer by charging SDWCA for water storage in the aquifer and reinvest proceeds in our community. As expected, the topic invited passionate opposition and even some ridicule from over twenty speakers at the meeting.
Dave Carle, California State Park Rangers Association (CSPRA) spoke for many. He said "Farsighted people worked for generations to establish the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and it is our responsibility to preserve this legacy. These State Wilderness areas are not set aside for infrastructure. Parks are protected because they are unique and special places."
Mark Jorgensen, former State Part Superintendent, with a history of over 49 years with the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, called it a ridiculous scheme that violates the California Wilderness Act. "We the people will not permit this to happen," he said.
Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker, Evolutionary Biologist, Biological Innovation Consultant, Professor at Arizona State University, Borrego resident and an expert at re-naturalization, reiterated the sensitive nature of biological diversity which once lost cannot be regained. She reminded the SDWCA, "The eyes of the world are watching us."
Dan Denham appreciated hearing from the Borrego Springs and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park community as the SDWCA continues the next phase of the study. He again reminded the attendees that it was the responsibility of the SDWCA to conduct this due diligence on this alternative as well as others.
Also at the May 6, meeting, the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group unanimously approved to form three Standing Subcommittees with the chair and members as below.
Water and Land Use/Planning Subcommittee (WLUPS) to monitor water issues including the Watermaster Board and Borrego Water District meetings.
John Peterson, Sponsor Group Member – Chair
Judy Haldeman, Sponsor Group Member
James (Jim) Dax
Diane Johnson, BWD Board Member
County Programs and Regulations Subcommittee (CPRS) to monitor proposed County programs, regulations and updates that are particularly relevant to the community of Borrego Springs.
Rebecca Falk, Sponsor Group Member – Chair
Bonnie Petrach, Sponsor Group Member
Dick Troy, Borrego Valley Stewardship Council
Road Maintenance Subcommittee to monitor which roads are most in need of resurfacing in Borrego Springs so that when the County yearly request comes in, the RMS is in a position to propose a priority list
Bill Haneline, Sponsor Group Member – Chair
David Farley, Sponsor Group Member
Each Standing Subcommittees will establish and announce its own ongoing meeting schedule, and meetings will be open to the public. The WLUPS and CPRS are expected to meet monthly, while the RMS is expected to meet quarterly. To be placed on the mailing lists for any Subcommittee, please contact the Sponsor Group Chair, Rebecca Falk, firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is an update on the Christmas Circle and Sunset Road sidewalk project that we reported on last month. There are two changes proposed.
The east and west side crosswalks to Christmas Circle will no longer have a three-inch speed table. The Fire Department requested this change to avoid slowing down emergency vehicles.
The bulb-out extension to reduce the lane width at the entrance to Christmas Circle from Palm Canyon Drive, next to Kesling's Kitchen, will be modified. A new design will leave an extra two feet in the lane width to allow safer entry of bicycles into Christmas Circle. Bicyclists present at the meeting appreciated this compromise.
The next regular meeting of the Sponsor Group will be held June 3, 4:30 p.m. via teleconferencing. For further information and to be added to the Sponsor Group email list to receive agendas and agenda packets, contact the Chair at email@example.com.