Some areas in Muskoka beginning recovery from floods
Bracebridge and Huntsville are beginning recovery and cleanup efforts after flooding while Muskoka Lakes remains in the response stage.
“There’s a number of businesses that are pretty much recovered and open again and operating,” Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison said. “The private citizens are in recovery mode as well.”
According to Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith, all areas in Bracebridge are in recovery, too.
“Water levels are still high or higher than normal,” Smith told Global News Thursday. “They’re low enough that people can start to look forward and participate in recovery.”
Water levels and flows in the rivers and lakes of Muskoka Lakes and Bracebridge are starting to decline.
According to Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding, over the last four days, the Moon River has gone down by six to eight inches, while Lake Muskoka has declined by about four or five inches and lakes Rosseau and Joseph by around two inches.
“We’re still not in recovery and until we probably have all of our roads back open, we probably won’t be in a recovery mode because people still can’t access their properties,” Harding said Wednesday.
WATCH: Bracebridge homeowner talks about flooding impact
Water levels have declined in both the north and south branches of the Muskoka River, Smith said at a press conference Monday.
“The north branch of the Muskoka River is returning to normal spring-like level flows,” he added.
“There’s some large items that have been floating around in the lakes,” Aitchison said of Huntsville. “We intend to work with lake associations to help retrieve those things.”
According to Harding, Muskoka Lakes is reaching out to the federal government for funding to clean its waterways.
“There’s so much debris floating around. We’re making a special request to the prime minister and the minister of transportation in particular,” he said.
A weather alert issued by Environment Canada on Wednesday has predicted between 20 and 40 millimetres of rainfall for Muskoka and Parry Sound on Thursday.
“The land is becoming a lot more dry, and it will absorb a lot of the water,” Harding said of Muskoka Lakes. “I don’t anticipate us going up.”
According to Aitchison, the costs incurred from flooding damage are still being tallied, however roadway repairs have been calculated at just over $400,000.
“There are urban areas here, and some of those urban areas have leftover wetland and swamps that were never meant to have hard surfaces on them,” Aitchison said of Huntsville.
The Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program has been activated in Bracebridge and Huntsville.
WATCH: Ontario Premier Doug Ford tours flood-ravaged cottage country
Muskoka Futures has also launched a flood recovery loan program for businesses that have been affected by flooding. The program will provide up to $25,000 at zero per cent interest for two years.
Sandbags are being disposed of in Bracebridge and Huntsville.
In Bracebridge, sandbags can be dropped off free of charge at 1062 Rosewarne Dr. as well as the following locations:
- Herbert Court at Cul de Sac
- Beaumont Road and Beaumont Farm Road at the gravel area
- Alpine Ranch Road at the plow turnaround and parking lot
- George Road boat launch
- River Road at the pumping station lot
- Colony Road and Fraserburg Road
- Springdale Park Road and Springdale Shores
- Matthiasville Road at the plow turnaround and parking lot close to the steel bridge
In Huntsville, sandbags can be dropped at 169 Madill Church Rd.
On Saturday and Sunday, there will be a post-flood community cleanup in Bracebridge. Volunteers can meet at the sandbag drop locations at 9 a.m. both days to assist with relief.
READ MORE: 6 of the worst floods in Canadian history
Starting on Thursday, Huntsville residents who live in flood-affected areas will be eligible for one landfill voucher. The vouchers can be picked up at 37 Main St. E. or 20 Park Dr.
Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes — two of six Muskoka municipalities — remain in states of emergency due to flooding.
WATCH: Bracebridge, Ont., residents frantically sandbag as floodwaters threaten homes, cottages
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