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Flooding continues in Ontario cottage country as Muskoka declares state of emergency

A residence on Beaumont Farm Road as historical flooding affects Bracebridge, Ont. Courtesy Captain Jonathan Link

The District Municipality of Muskoka declared a state of emergency late Sunday afternoon due to the ongoing flooding emergencies happening in Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes and Huntsville.

Since Sunday, water levels in Muskoka Lakes have continued to rise at a reduced rate, while they have plateaued in Bracebridge, a Muskoka Lakes press release says. The water levels have also started to decrease in Huntsville, the release adds.

READ MORE: Muskoka Lakes declares flooding state of emergency

“We’ve all noticed that it’s been pretty dry for the past couple of days,” Bracebridge mayor Graydon Smith said at a press conference Monday morning. “That is helping some of the water move through the system.”

Thirty more troops and equipment  from the Canadian Armed Forces are being deployed to Bracebridge on Monday after 60 soldiers, four 10-tonne trucks and a recovery vehicle hit the area’s grounds on Sunday.

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According to Smith, the Muskoka River’s north branch has stabilized and has been slowly receding, while the south branch appears to be coming to a cresting point and stabilizing, too.

“When you combine the two branches together, there’s still a significant flow and that means Lake Muskoka continues to rise,” Smith said.

READ MORE: Floods to continue for ‘several more days’ as Canadian Armed Forces arrive in Bracebridge

According to Muskoka Lakes mayor Phil Harding, lakes Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph have been significantly affected.

“All of the water from Huntsville and Bracebridge comes through Lake Muskoka,” Harding told Global News Monday afternoon. “Lake Muskoka is the one that has [had] the biggest impact. From an infrastructure standpoint, there is considerable damage.”

Harding said he flew over the lake and that there’s almost no boathouse or dock on the water that isn’t submerged.

WATCH: Four communities under a state of emergency due to flooding

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Four communities under a state of emergency due to flooding – Apr 29, 2019

“Our best guess right now is that water is going to continue to rise for the next two days, maybe three days,” he said.

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According to Smith, the cresting may be somewhere in sight for Lake Muskoka, which means that different areas are experiencing recovery or more pressure.

“That Springdale Shores area…there’s some reports from people up there that the water is definitely going down and they see some progress in that area,” Smith said.

According to the Muskoka Lakes release, since Sunday, Lake Muskoka has risen by 6 cm, Lake Rosseau and Joseph by 2 cm, and the Moon River by 16 cm.

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Flooding is shown on Fraserburg Road in Bracebridge, Ont., on Monday, April 29. Shallima Maharaj/Global News
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Sandbags efforts are shown on Maplewood Road in Bracebridge, Ont., on Monday, April 29. Shallima Maharaj/Global News
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Flooding is shown on Fraserburg Road in Bracebridge, Ont., on Monday, April 29. Shallima Maharaj/Global News
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Flooding is shown in the Santa's Village area of Bracebridge, Ont., on Monday, April 29. Shallima Maharaj/Global News
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Flooding is shown in the Santa's Village area of Bracebridge, Ont., on Monday, April 29. Shallima Mahraj/Global News
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Sandbag efforts are shown on Fraserburg Road in Bracebrdige, Ont., on Monday, April 29. Shallima Maharaj/Global News

Water levels in Huntsville and Port Sydney lakes are slowly beginning to decrease, a Huntsville press release issued Monday afternoon says, however residents will continue to see high levels until the water works its way out of the river system over the next few days.

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In Bracebridge, free sandbags for properties affected by flooding are available at 1206 Rosewarne Drive. Sand materials and bags are also available at the George Road boat launch overflow parking lot, on Maplewood Road and on Herbert Court.

READ MORE: Ottawa floods: Rainfall below forecasted amounts but water continues to rise

In Muskoka Lakes, sand, sandbags and shovels are available at 3951 Muskoka Rd. 169, 1078 Raymond Rd., 3224 Muskoka Rd. 169 and 40 Bailey St. on a fill-your-own basis

In Huntsville, free sand and bags are available at 387 South Mary Lake Rd. and at 7 Burrow Pit Ln. Bags are available at 40 Cairns Cres., and people can get free sand at 815 Muskoka Rd. 3 North. Bags and sand are available at 1265 Aspdin Road.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has issued a drinking water advisory for the District of Muskoka. Municipal water sources are not affected by the advisory.

Seasonal residents wishing to check on their properties are encouraged to wait until the flooding emergency has ended.

WATCH: Canadian army reservists arrive in Bracebridge to help with flooding emergency

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Canadian army reservists arrive in Bracebridge to help with flooding emergency – Apr 28, 2019

According to Harding, the big issue on the table is the Muskoka River Water Management Plan. He told Global News that the current flood is the third flood in the past six years.

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“That seriously needs to be addressed,” he said. “It’s going on 13 years old right now. It was supposed to be re-evaluated at 10 years, but it’s using data that is probably 20, 30 or even 40 years old.”

Smith said the flooding will continue for another few days. “We’re not near the end, but maybe the finish line is coming into sight for some areas,” Smith said.

Three out of six of the Muskoka district’s municipalities remain in states of emergency due to flooding.

WATCH: Drone footage shows rising water levels as Huntsville deals with ‘most devastating flooding since 2013’

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Drone footage shows rising water levels as Huntsville deals with ‘most devastating flooding since 2013’ – Apr 27, 2019

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