A new interim order is prohibiting navigation on Lake Muskoka, the Moon River, and the north and south branches of the Muskoka River as flooding continues in the region.
“’In light of the deteriorating situation, part of Muskoka region has been added to the interim order to better protect residents as well as to prevent damage,” Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said in a statement.
People who are only able to access their properties by boat are exempt from the interim order. If residents need to access their property by boat, they are encouraged to travel as slow as possible, the statement says.
A rain alert remains in effect for the Muskoka and Parry Sound areas, with a possible 25 to 40 millimetres of rain by Thursday morning.
“Areas that are currently experiencing flooding will not see water levels start to recede until the waterworks is way out of the watershed, and (the rain) is obviously going to delay that,” Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith said at a media conference on Wednesday.
WATCH: Bracebridge, Ont., residents frantically sandbag as floodwaters threaten homes, cottages
In some areas of the town, rain may marginally increase water levels, Smith added.
In Huntsville, according to local Mayor Scott Aitchison, the water levels are still stabilized.
“I think that the rain we’re getting in Huntsville is probably just sort of slowing down the rate of the water receding at this point now,” Aitchison told Global News on Wednesday.
READ MORE: 6 of the worst floods in Canadian history
In Muskoka Lakes, water levels have stabilized on the Moon River and Lakes Muskoka, Joseph and Rosseau.
According to Smith, the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarions program will be activated in Bracebridge.
“This program provides basic financial assistance for small businesses, homeowners and tenants impacted by the flood,” Smith said. “It is important to note that it’s not a replacement for insurance. Insurance comes first but supplements those insurance proceeds, should there be gaps.”
WATCH: Bracebridge homeowner talks about flooding impact
According to Smith, the program is only available for primary residences.
Aitchison said the program is also available in Huntsville.
There are currently 200 troops from the Canadian Armed Forces who are assisting with flood relief efforts in Bracebridge, with additional equipment arriving Wednesday.
According to the Town of Bracebridge, the OPP’s marine unit will be patrolling waterways to ensure people are complying with the transport minister’s interim order.
The drinking water advisory issued by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for the affected areas remains in place. Municipal water sources are not affected by the advisory.
WATCH: Flooding in Muskoka region leads to lake water lapping up against cottages, homes
Bracebridge road closures:
- Chub Downey Lane, from Hiram Street to James Street
- Wharf Road, from Ontario Street to Victoria Street
- Beaumont Drive/Muskoka Road 15, from Wellington Street to the end (local traffic only)
- Sherwood Forest Road, from Fraserburg Road/Muskoka Road 14 to the end
- Ann Street, from Aubrey Street to Wilson’s Falls Road
- Kelvin Grove Park, from the rowing club parking lot to the lower parking lot
- Purbrook Road, from 1805 Purbrook Rd. to the end
- Fraserburg Road/Muskoka Road 14, from Colony Road to Cridiford Road
- Power Point Road, from High Falls Road/Muskoka Road 50 to the end
- Santa’s Village Road/Muskoka Road 15, from 363 Santa’s Village Rd./Muskoka Road 15 to Leslie Drive
- Cridiford Road, from 1049 Cridiford Rd. to the end
- Crockford Road, from Muskoka Beach Road/Muskoka Road 17 to the end
- Holiday Park Drive Private, from Highway 11 and Holiday Park Drive Private to 160 metres east
- River Road, from Taylor Road/Muskoka Road 42 to Wilson’s Falls Road and Ann Street
- Wilson’s Falls Road, from River Road and Ann Street to the end
Muskoka Lakes road closures:
- River Street, from Muskoka Road #169 to Maple Avenue
- Ashforth Drive, at 1117 Ashforth Dr.
- Trafalgar Bay Road, from Moon River Road and Muskoka Road #169
- Bala Falls Road bridge, from 1024-1028 Bala Falls Rd.
- Rigeby Road (fully closed)
- Lionel Avenue, from Foord Road (fully closed)
- Foord Road (fully closed)
Huntsville road closures:
- Hutcheson Beach Road at #12
- Bayshore Boulevard at #700 to West Airport
- Cann Street at John Street to Freshco
- Glen Acres Road at Glen Acres Road
- North Lancelot Road at the gravel portion
- Old North Road at Silver Sands Road to Fowlers Road
- River Mill at the parking by Algonquin Outfitters
- Silver Sands Road before Silver Sands Park
- Skyhills Road at #536
- South Drive at South Drive
- Jarvies Road at #132
WATCH: Bracebridge mayor tells off people for boating, jet skiing on river
In Bracebridge, free sandbags for properties affected by flooding are available at 1206 Rosewarne Dr.
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
According to Smith, tens of thousands of sandbags have been distributed since Friday in Bracebridge.
“We’re not sandbagging anything anymore in Huntsville,” Aitchison said. “In Huntsville, the water has started to go down, so there are some people who have started to clean up.”
Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes, and Huntsville — three of six Muskoka municipalities — continue to remain in a state of emergency due to flooding.