Flooding continues in Ontario cottage country
Muskoka continues to grapple with two flooding emergencies as water levels begin to decline and stabilize in the Bracebridge area, while they rise in the Muskoka Lakes region.
Since Thursday, water levels have risen about one to two inches on lakes Muskoka, Rosseau, Joseph and the Moon River, a Muskoka Lakes statement reads.
“Levels in Lake Muskoka are still at or near peak,” Bracebridge mayor Graydon Smith said at a press conference Friday. “Lake Muskoka will remain high and slowly begin to recover to lower levels as water moves through Bala.”
According to Muskoka Lakes mayor Phil Harding, Bala has been the most affected by the ongoing floods. In one particular instance, he said, the township’s building department needed to condemn one building because the front of it was floating.
“There was concern that the building itself may end up going down the Moon River,” Harding told Global News on Friday.
According to Harding, over 25,000 sandbags have been distributed so far and at least six families have evacuated their homes.
“Moon River will be weeks before we see any recession of the water there,” Harding said.
The north branch of the Muskoka River is receding, while the south branch is beginning to go down, Smith said, adding that their water levels are still higher than normal.
“I know that virtually every boathouse on Lake Muskoka is significantly underwater, roughly three feet under,” Harding said.
WATCH: Bracebridge homeowner talks about flooding impact
According to the Muskoka Lakes mayor, this amounts to about 100 boathouses that are significantly damaged or fully destroyed. “An average cost (is), let’s say, $200,000 a boathouse — you’re into multi-hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said.
In Bracebridge, there are still 120 soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces on the ground who are helping with ongoing flood relief efforts.
While Bracebridge’s flood emergency is ongoing in some areas, others are beginning to clean up and recover.
Muskoka Lakes, however, shows a different story.
“We’re not in recovery mode yet,” Harding said. “We’re still in the thick of it, so an inch of rise is certainly not what we saw four days ago, where the waters were rising rapidly, and I would certainly hope that over the next couple days, we can see some decreases in water levels.”
Huntsville lifted it’s state of emergency on Wednesday as water levels continue to decline there.
On Tuesday, an interim order prohibiting navigation on Lake Muskoka, the Moon River, and the north and south branches of the Muskoka River was implemented by transport minister Marc Garneau. The order continues to remain in place.
The Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program has been activated for Bracebridge, while it is currently under review for Muskoka Lakes.
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.
In Bracebridge, free sandbags for properties affected by flooding are available at 1206 Rosewarne Dr. Filled sandbags can also be disposed at the Rosewarne Transfer Station during operating hours.
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
Vouchers for solid waste disposal are available at Bracebridge’s municipal office at 1000 Taylor Crt.
Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes — two of six Muskoka municipalities — remain in flooding states of emergency.
WATCH: Bracebridge, Ont. residents frantically sandbag as flood waters threaten homes, cottages
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