Flood Update: Muskoka Lakes Township asking public to stay away from falls, docks

3 big lakes at peak, Moon River township dock at Bala Falls destroyed, flood loan for businesses

Posted April 30, 3.55pm: The Township of Muskoka Lakes today put up barriers to try and keep people from getting too close to high water at the Bala Falls and to keep them away from the broken Township dock on Moon River. There is also yellow danger tape to try

Torrance Dock still underwater, barriers now up April 30
Torrance Dock still underwater, barriers now up April 30

and dissuade the curious from endangering themselves and barricades at the Government of Canada dock in Torrance. The Township is asking the public to keep a safe distance away from Township docks, boat launches and Margaret Burgess Park due to the dangerous water levels. While the water levels increased from almost two weeks of flooding have now peaked on Lake Muskoka, the water started rushing even more forcefully over the Bala Falls this past Friday, according to reports from residents and regular checks by Muskoka News Watch.

Township protects public
Township protects public

In its 11th flood advisory, the Township reports Muskoka Lakes firefighters are checking on residents along the Moon River to ensure safety. The Township reminds anyone who may be in danger due to the water to call 911.

Flood fund for businesses

Meantime, Muskoka Community Futures has announced a special loan fund to help business that have experienced damage as a result of this flood. Loans of up to $25,000 are now available at 0% interest for up to two years. The program will provide financial assistance with costs related to infrastructure, inventory, equipment, operations, or other areas of need identified by business owners.  Applications will accepted immediately and be treated as a high-priority with the goal to provide assistance as quickly as possible.

flood, muskoka
Indianhead Marina

Applications will be accepted until June 30th, 2013.  Muskoka Community Futures is supported by the Federal Government through FedNor and Industry Canada and Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement is the Minister for FedNor. He says he’s pleased “to pleased to hear that Muskoka Futures is offering this specialized loan option to help in this time of great need.”

“I had the opportunity to tour some of flood-affected areas over the last week, and to meet with some of the business people ho have been impacted,” continues Clement.

Cottage at Patterson Kaye Lodge April 28
Cottage at Patterson Kaye Lodge April 28

“I know this clean-up, especially with the busy summer season fast approaching, is a daunting task for many,” he says.

What’s happening on the lakes? The Township reports water levels on Lake Muskoka have decreased 2cm from yesterday to 226.12 Metres above sea level (MASL) and there is no change to water levels on Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph from yesterday (at 226.47MASL). The Township reports the MNR has advised Moon River flows have decreased as well. Click here for the Township release with its measurements today reported at noon (in PDF)

Stephane Dion raises copyright issues about Tory attack ads on Trudeau

Liberal Democratic Reform critic Stéphane Dion charges Conservatives may be breaking Elections Act with attack ads

Posted April 27, 1030am: Liberal Democratic Reform critic Stéphane Dion is taking aim at Tory attack ads agains claiming the Conservatives don’t have the right to use the content they’re showing in their ads. No stranger to attack ads himself, Dion is reacting to the television ads attacking new Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Dion sent the following letter yesterday to the Commissioner of Canada Elections on the unauthorized use of copyrighted material in political advertising:

Re: Unauthorized Use of Copyrighted Material in Political Advertising

I am writing to raise a concern about the unauthorized use of copyrighted materials in political advertising promulgated by the Conservative Party of Canada (“CPC”).

Recently, the CPC used footage owned by the Huffington Post and CTV in a television advertising campaign directed at the Liberal Party of Canada. These advertisements are being aired nationally, including in Labrador where a by-election is currently being held. I

Justin Trudeau, Liberal, #lpcldr, Ottawa, Liberal Party of Canada, Cindy Waters
Trudeau meets with supporters in Bracebridge in February while former Liberal riding candidate Cindy Waters looks on

understand from media reports that the CPC is using this footage without the copyright holders’ permission and presumably without paying the copyright holders to license the material. I understand that the licensing of copyrighted materials ordinarily comes at a cost.

I am raising my concerns with you because the CPC’s unauthorized use of this material, while inconsistent with our country’s copyright laws, may also be non-compliant with the Canada Elections Act (the “Act”). In my view, the unpaid use of copyrighted material is a “non-monetary contribution” to the CPC, as defined in s.2(1) of the Act.

The Act prohibits donations from corporations pursuant to s.404(1) and, accordingly, such contributions ought to be ineligible. The failure to return an ineligible contribution is an offence pursuant to s. 404(2) of the Act.

I would be grateful for your ruling on this issue. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

The Hon. Stéphane Dion
Liberal Democratic Reform critic

Now, a story about low water level problems: Clement says IJC review starts now, meets with Parry Sound leaders

Commission on Water Levels makes recommendations to stabilize levels on Great Lakes; MP Tony Clement says review of recommendations under way now; meeting today with municipal leaders in Parry Sound

Posted April 27, 9.57am: Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement says the Government of Canada has received the recommendations from the International Joint Commission (IJC) on Great Lakes Water levels, and is commencing its review immediately.

“I know full well how record water levels are affecting my constituents along Georgian Bay, and the frustration and anxiety that exist for homeowners, businesses, municipal leaders and cottagers. We need to review these recommendations thoroughly and expeditiously,” says Clement.

Tony Clement, Muskoka, MPP
MP Tony Clement

“The Government of Canada does not want to push this issue further down the line. We want to take action in conjunction with our U.S. partners that will have the greatest and most immediate impact,” he adds.

The recommendations provided in the IJC report include:

  • The International Joint Commission advised the governments of Canada and the United States, by letter dated April 15, 2013 that it will implement this year an improved plan for regulating Lake Superior outflows at Sault Ste. Marie. The new plan, Lake Superior Regulation Plan 2012, provides additional benefits compared to current regulation, especially during extreme water supply conditions.
  • In addition, the Commission recommends that the governments of Canada and the United States investigate structural options to restore water levels in Lake Michigan-Huron by 13 to 25 centimeters (about 5 to 10 inches), including a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis and a detailed environmental impact study.
  • Specifically, the Commission encouraged governments to focus on options that would not exacerbate future high water levels but that would provide relief during periods of low water.

Clement says he has held meetings with various stakeholder groups on low water levels over the last several months, including one-on-one meetings and briefings with IJC Commissioners and fellow Ministers John Baird and Peter Kent. He will meet again today with municipal and business leaders and other affected constituents in Parry Sound.

“Now that we have this report in hand, it will be important for all those with an interest in finding remedies to review what the IJC has presented, and continue to work together toward effective solutions. I look forward to doing all I can toward this end, and advocating for the best approach for Georgian Bay and the entire Great Lakes Basin,” he says.

Read the IJC’s News Release for more information on the commission’s recommendations. Click here.

MNR expecting Lake Muskoka to crest within next 24 hours, water levels still rising

MNR: Lake Muskoka is currently at record levels not seen during past flood events. Lake Muskoka and Moon River still rising.

Posted April 26, 7pm: The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) provided this update to media late this evening. Steve Taylor, the Ministry’s Water Resources Coordinator for our region says the Moon River, Bala Reach below Lake Muskoka will continue to rise until such time Lake Muskoka water levels have peaked.

“Any increase in Bala Reach water levels is directly the result of rising Lake Muskoka levels creating an incremental increase in flows through the Bala dams,” says Taylor. He adds the rate of rise in Lake Muskoka water levels has slowed dramatically over the last couple of days.

Flood, Muskoka
Mortimer’s Point, Lake Muskoka Apr 24

“As of this morning, the lake only rose 4 cm from yesterday morning,” says Taylor, and the the lake has only risen 1 cm since this morning so it is showing every indication that it will soon crest.” He says that crest is expected to occur over the next 24 hours before beginning to decline, and Lake Muskoka is currently at record levels not seen during past flood events.

The MNR Bala dams that control Lake Muskoka levels continue to discharge optimal flows and will not be operated to reduce discharge until such time Lake Muskoka water levels have peaked and begun to decline, adds Taylor. Lake Muskoka is currently at record levels not seen during past flood events.

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River, Muskoka Lakes, Bala Falls
North Bala Falls Apr 22 9am

 


Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes issue new flood advisories, cottagers cautioned

Flood advisories from Bracebridge & Township of Muskoka Lakes April 26: MNR says Lake Muskoka close to peak

Posted April 26, 3pm: The Town of Bracebridge has issued a new advisory warning seasonal residents to be aware of what they may find if they come up to their cottages this weekend. The Town is concerned some cottage roads may not be passable. As well, the Township

Torrance government dock damaged and water covered April 26, 9am
Torrance government dock, Torrance Bay, Lake Muskoka. Dock damaged and water covered April 26, 9am

of Muskoka Lakes today issued its eighth advisory about water levels in its municipality. Please click on 26-04-13 Flood Warning Update 8 to view the report for water level reports from the Township of Muskoka Lakes (in PDF).

Residents in Muskoka Lakes are concerned water is still rising on Lake Muskoka and Moon River. With no rain in the forecast, Muskokans should hopefully begin to feel some relief from increasing water levels and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) reports Lake Muskoka is close to peak levels now. Bracebridge advisory follows:

Bracebridge Flood Emergency Update #21 April 26, 2.15pm: One week ago, on April 19, 2013, Mayor Graydon Smith issued an Emergency Declaration under the Emergency Management & Civil Protection Act due to extensive flooding in the Muskoka Watershed. Since that time flood waters in the Black River as well as the North and South Branches of the Muskoka River have caused significant damage to property and road infrastructure throughout the community. River levels, although showing signs of relief, remain above seasonal high levels. Bracebridge Emergency Officials are reinforcing the need for seasonal residents to exercise extreme caution if they are visiting their cottages this coming weekend.

Seasonal roads and access to those roads may be impaired by flooding, flood damage or washouts. While Town crews are continually completing road repairs, there are numerous waterfront homes that may be without access. If roads are passable, motorists are asked to proceed slowly and be aware that local roads may be impacted by washouts and other road damage.

Residents are also being discouraged from boating on the Muskoka River due to high river flows and floating debris (docks, trees, boats, etc).  Boaters are reminded that Snowmobile Bridge is still in the Muskoka River in the vicinity of Beaver Creek and, as a result, blocks access to Lake Muskoka from the Muskoka River.  The high water level in Lake Muskoka as well as floating debris may make boating unsafe on the Lake as well.

Advisory Highlights:

  • Bracebridge Officials have observed a drop of 8-10 inches in the North Branch of the Muskoka River (north of the Bracebridge Falls), providing some relief to low lying areas. These reductions are expected to continue throughout the weekend.
  • Flows in the South Branch of the Muskoka River are slowly increasing between the Baysville and Matthiasville Dams. This will cause continued flooding in low lying areas in the Fraserburg area.
  • Downstream of Bracebridge Falls in the areas of Santa’s Village Road and Beaumont Drive, water levels appear to have stabilized and reached their peak.
  • According to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Lake Muskoka rose 4 cm since yesterday morning. Although the rate of rise appears to be slowing, MNR Officials believe Lake Muskoka may be close to peak levels.

Areas of continuing concern for flooding of roads and properties include:

  1. Beaumont Drive
  2. Fraserburg Rd in areas of Colony, Crockford and Sherwood Forest Roads
  3. River Road
  4. Springdale Shores
  5. White Eagle Trail and Island Way (Pvt)
  6. Muskoka Pines (Pvt)
  7. Santa’s Village Road
  8. Wilson’s Falls Road

For full advisory from Bracebridge, please visit the Town of Bracebridge web site (click here) and scroll down to view DECLARED EMERGENCY releases.

Ratepayer groups respond to Muskoka Lakes Township action against Province

Township of Muskoka Lakes takes province to court in June, Muskoka Lakes Association and Muskoka Ratepayers’ Association respond to news of judicial review re Bala Falls

Posted April 25, 12am: The two largest ratepayer groups in Muskoka Lakes have reacted to news the Township of Muskoka Lakes is taking legal action against the Ministry of Natural Resources in a bid to stop the building of the proposed North Bala Falls hydro plant.

“At this stage, we don’t know enough about the Township’s case, so we don’t think it’s responsible to comment on its merits,” says Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) President Mike Langdon.

Mike Langdon, MLA, Muskoka Lakes
Mike Langdon

He adds, “it’s important to remember that several municipal councillors campaigned on a platform of opposition to the Bala power project. This remains a contentious issue and the project’s opponents earned their representation on council.”

Langdon says the MLA was concerned about certain safety and environmental aspects of the proposed hydroelectric development and he says the association addressed those concerns to Environment Minister Jim Bradley in a letter late last year. In January, Bradley announced no further environmental assessment was needed for the project (see January article).

Susan Daglish is President of the Muskoka Ratepayers’ Association and she had this to say about the action taken by the Township: “As president of the Muskoka Ratepayers’ Association, I am offended that taxpayer money is to be used to further fight the Bala Falls hydroelectric plant by taking the province to court. We do not believe that the lawsuit is in the general interests of the Township.”

Daglish continues, “I question two issues. One, how did this decision get passed by council? The second, are we sure that the designated place is actually a historic Portage Route? It is my understanding that the actual Portage Route could be in another location.” Daglish explains her understanding is based on the portage routes mapped by Hap Wilson, author of several canoe route guide books (see map below from Wilson’s book, Canoeing and Hiking Wild Muskoka).

Muskoka, Bala Falls, Portage, Heritage, hydro, green energy
Map shows high and low water portage routes on the opposite side of the river from the proposed hydro plant site known as Option 1. However, some Bala residents and the Township Heritage committee argue the preferred route is on the south side of the Bala dam.

 

Meantime, there is little known about the basis of the Township’s case other than what the Mayor stated on radio station Moose FM last week. In that interview, Murphy told the Moose that the Public Lands Act of Ontario states portages can not be obstructed and that those portage rights will be affected by the proposed hydro development. Murphy has been making statements about the potential illegality of the hydro plant to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne since late March and began directing similar Tweets to Toronto media (National Post, CFRB, The Globe and Mail) in mid April.

Township of Muskoka Lakes CAO Chris Wray and Karen McGhee, the project manager for Swift River Energy Limited (the proposed builder of the hydro plant), both told MNW they could not provide comment. An email to Township councillors for comment was unanswered, but sources say the Township has been working on this legal challenge since a February meeting when the Township’s lawyer was seen entering a closed session meeting of council.

The Ontario Attorney General’s Office told MNW the Township filed its intention to challenge the Ministry of NMuskoka Lakes vs MNR court fileatural Resources (MNR) in a Barrie court on April 9. Brendan Crawley, the communications officer for the Attorney General, would only confirm the action relates to the MNR decision to proceed with permits for a water energy project. He says a Judicial Review of the decision will be heard in Divisional Court in Toronto on June 28, 2013.

 

Bracebridge extends state of emergency, lakes rising: Flood Update Apr 24 2pm

Linda Jeffrey in Huntsville with Mayor Doughty
Linda Jeffrey in Huntsville with Mayor Doughty Apr 23 (submitted photo)

Bracebridge extends state of emergency today, Big Muskoka Lakes still rising (Muskoka Lakes update), Norm Miller commends communities, Jeffrey meets with Bracebridge and Huntsville mayors

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River, South Muskoka River, Lake Muskoka
Before and after shots of boathouse across from Riverside Inn where North and South branches of Muskoka River converge. As you can see, the water is up slightly higher on this building. Below the Riverside, river residents are feeling pressure from higher levels today.

BRACEBRIDGE UPDATE: Even though the Black River area of Bracebridge has returned to seasonal highs, increased flooding on the North and South Branches of the Muskoka River continues. Bracebridge Officials are extending the emergency that was declared on April 19 because high water levels in the North and South Branches and Lake Muskoka are expected for several days.

The Muskoka River below the Riverside Inn (affecting riverside homes and the roadways on Beaumont Drive/Santa’s Village Road and on into Lake Muskoka) is reported by residents to be higher today. The North and South Branches of the Muskoka River converge beside the Riverside Inn. Below is a picture showing the boathouse across from the hotel on April 20 and now on April 24. (See updated road report from Town of Bracebridge at bottom of this post following Muskoka Lakes update and MPP Norm Miller’s comments at Queen’s Park yesterday. All roads open in Muskoka Lakes).

Yesterday, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Linda Jeffrey toured Bracebridge and then Huntsville and met with both mayors. The municipalities have 14 days (from the beginning of the disaster) to get a resolution to the Ministry if they are to apply for support through Ontario’s Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP).

Meantime, Parry Sound- Muskoka MPP Norm Miller stood up in the Ontario legislature yesterday to recognize the efforts of the communities battling through the flood conditions in Muskoka and throughout Central Ontario.

Flood, Muskoka
Mortimer’s Point Lake Muskoka

“I would like to recognize the excellent job that our emergency responders, municipalities, and volunteers have done to deal with the immense challenges posed by the flooding in Muskoka and the surrounding areas, and thank them for all their hard work” said Miller.

“I look forward to working with our municipal leaders and the ministries involved toward ensuring that access to support programs is able to assist local residents and businesses who have been impacted by the flooding” added Miller.

Moon River, Flood, Bala
Moon River water seeps into home Apr23

MUSKOKA LAKES UPDATE: While the upper reaches of the Muskoka River Watershed have peaked and are declining, lakes in the lower Muskoka Watershed are still rising. Peak water levels should occur late today or tomorrow. Figures shown here are from the Township advisory today 24-04-13 Flood Warning Update 5[2]

  • Lake Muskoka is up 6cm from yesterday and could rise another cm or two tomorrow and then go slowly down in the next few days.
  • Lakes Rosseau and Joseph are up 2 cm from yesterday and should remain stable at that level until Lake Muskoka levels drop.
  • Skeleton Lake has dropped 9 cm since its peak on Friday.
  • The Moon River has a reported flow of 250.6 cubic metres per second.

    Moon River Flood, Bala
    Gaunt Bay, 150 feet from where beach should be. Moon River Apr23
  • The Musquash River is at 92.6 cubic metres per second today.

The MNR has indicated that despite the rain today flooding is not expected to worsen. Still, area residents should take precautions to protect their properties as water levels are the highest in recent memory (if you flooded in 1985 or 1998, you likely will be experiencing flooding now as these levels are higher than in those spring flood events). Sandbags remain available at the Glen Orchard Public Works Yard.

HIGHLIGHTS OF TOWN OF BRACEBRIDGE ADVISORY #17, April 24, 1.22pm: Areas of particular concern for flooding of roads and properties are:

  1. Beaumont Drive
  2. Fraserburg Road (Colony and Sherwood Forest Roads)
  3. Island Way Area
  4. Muskoka Pines (Pvt)

    Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
    Boathouses on Muskoka River, Santa’s Village Rd
  5. River Road
  6. Santa’s Village Road
  7. Springdale Shores
  8. Wilson’s Falls Road

These areas will be re-evaluated on Friday, April 26, 2013. Due to the flooding, Springdale Shores (Pvt) and Springdale Park Road some residents continue to be without power.

Below is a list of roads either closed to vehicular traffic or experiencing flooding.  As waters recede roads may become passable, however, motorists need to be cautious because the conditions of the roads may have deteriorated.

  • Beaumont Drive at Stephen’s Bay Road
  • Black River Road at Clear Lake Road
  • Bonnell Road
  • Cedar Shores (Pvt)
  • Colony Road
  • Germania Road between Waters Road and Gilbert Lane
  • Germania Road between Reay Road and Flynn’s Rd
  • Fraserburg Road at Colony Road to the end
  • Harmony Lane
  • Holiday Park Drive (Pvt)
  • Island Way
  • Moe’s Road and White Eagle Trail
  • Muskoka Pines (Pvt)
  • Muskoka Road 4 at Muskoka Road 35 (Patterson Corners)
  • Old Falkenburg Road
  • River Road – Taylor to Anne Street
  • Santa’s Village Road at Leslie Street
  • Sherwood Forest Road
  • Springdale Shores (Pvt)
  • Thompson Road
  • Vankoughnet Road from #1253 to the bridge
  • Wharf Road
  • Wilson Falls Road

Residents are encouraged to assess their individual situation based on current water levels and make arrangements to leave their properties as high water levels are anticipated to continue. It is possible other roads in the vicinity of the lower Muskoka River will become impassable as the water levels rise.

 

Flooding in Muskoka Lakes: Mortimer’s Point, Moon River, Torrance

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River, Riverside Inn, Boathouse, Flooding, Muskoka, River
Mortimer’s Point
Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River, Riverside Inn, Boathouse, Flooding, Muskoka, River
Water high on the rocks at Bala Falls April 23
Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River, Riverside Inn, Boathouse, Flooding, Muskoka, River
View of Torrance Bay from Keeler’s Road April 22
Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River, Riverside Inn, Boathouse, Flooding, Muskoka, River
Bala Bay April 22

Flood Pictures from April 23 – Muskoka Lakes – Lake Muskoka and Moon River. Scroll down to see all pictures (boathouses circled by water in Mortimer’s Point, water levels increasing on Moon River, dock submerged on Torrance Bay).

Paddleboat shown tied to tree on what is normally beach on Gaunt Bay, Moon River
Paddleboat shown tied to tree and secured on what is normally beach on Gaunt Bay, Moon River

Residents say they’ve never seen water levels this high.

Entrance from road to Mortimer's Point boathouse
Entrance from road to Mortimer’s Point boathouse
Lyle Mortimer securing dock on Mortimer's Point April 23
Lyle Mortimer securing dock on Mortimer’s Point April 23
IMG_00000191
Mortimer’s Point

MNR reports these levels are higher than highest levels in recent memory – such as in 1985 and 1998 when some of the highest levels ever were recorded on Lake Muskoka. The Township is issuing advisories as the water from the north continues to causing flood problems across the municipality.

Sandbagged home on Moon River
Sandbagged home on Moon River
Water 150 feet from where beach starts on Gaunt Bay
Water 150 feet from where beach starts on Gaunt Bay
House on Moon River
House on Moon River
Mortimer's Point Boathouse
Mortimer’s Point Boathouse
Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River, Riverside Inn, Boathouse, Flooding, Muskoka, River
Moon River from River Street Bala April 22

Hamilton Wentworth police officers transporting prisoner hit moose on Hwy 400

Posted April 23 530pm: One Hamilton Wentworth police officer and a prisoner were taken to hospital with minor injuries last night after the police cruiser they were in struck a moose on Hwy 400 at Cranberry Growers Road. Two Hamilton Wentworth police officers were transporting the prisoner and they were travelling southbound just before 8pm. Bracebridge OPP say the driver tried to swerve around the moose but clipped it, causing the cruiser to spin out of control and strike a metal barrier. The cruiser was destroyed as the right side struck the end of the metal barrier.

The OPP is reminding drivers to be aware of wild animals. This time of year they are moving and seem to be difficult to see at dusk.

Huntsville lifts state of emergency, waters rising in Muskoka Lakes, Gravenhurst

Huntsville lifts its state of emergency, Muskoka Lakes & Gravenhurst issuing advisories as water moves through watershed: updated at 12.45pm with Gravenhurst advisory

Township of Muskoka Lakes Advisory issued April 23, 12.39pm. Click here to read PDF Muskoka Lakes Flood Warning Update #3

Post April 23, 12:25pm. Huntsville Mayor Claude Doughty lifted the state of emergency for the municipality as of 12 noon today.

In a release, the town reports its Emergency Control Committee has met and reviewed the progress being made by the established committees and believe that progress being made is well into the recovery phase of this flood event. As a result, Mayor Doughty sent notice to the province that the declaration of emergency has ended as of 12 noon today.

Mayor Doughty wants to reassure those residents affected by the flood that the working committees will continue to work and meet to resolve the issues before them. “We understand that we still have a lot of work ahead of us and in fact many roads may remain closed for the next few days, ” says the Mayor. “I thank the residents on behalf of Council and myself, for their continued patience and support of this challenging situation.”

Parents and guardians are advised to remind children to stay clear of open waters, creeks and rivers. Meantime, as the water has moved downstream, residents in Muskoka Lakes and

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River, Muskoka Lakes, Bala Falls
North Bala Falls Apr 22 9am

Gravenhurst are experiencing the impact of the high water levels. The Township of Muskoka Lakes has issued two flood warnings and using numbers from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Township says Lake Muskoka increased by 9 cm from Sunday to Monday and is expected to rise another 5 cm throughout today. Lake Rosseau has increased by 4 cm and could rise by another cm today. Residents on the Moon River have been experiencing flooding since the rains began last week and the Township says Moon River flows measured at Highway 400 had increased almost 24 cms between Sunday and Monday and residents say the levels are even higher today. (Download this PDF for updated report as of 12.39 today Muskoka Lakes Flood Warning Update #3). The MNR says residents in any low lying area of the affected watershed should take measures to protect their properties. The MNR has said those who experienced flooding during high water conditions in previous years (notably 1985, 1998, 2005 and 2008) can expect they may be affected again.

The Town of Gravenhurst has also issued a flood advisory for residents in parts of Gravenhurst (see below). MNW noted waters rising at Muskoka Bay Park yesterday. Watch for updates for more details about flooding in Gravenhurst and Muskoka Lakes.

GRAVENHURST FLOOD ADVISORY: Town Officials in Gravenhurst are providing an update on the localized flooding occurring primarily in the southern end of Gravenhurst. Members of the Town’s Emergency Team met this morning to assess the overall status of the municipality. The direction is to continue with the current operations of observation with proactive action plans.
Severn River
The Severn has not crested, but the dams and locks east of the municipality have been
opened and water is flowing smoothly. The level has risen 5.1 cm (2 in.) overnight and it
is presumed that it will rise further overnight as waters start to flow in from the Black
River.
Black River
The Black River is higher than Sunday resulting in the road closure being extended.
MR6/Coopers Falls Rd. is now closed from the village of Coopers Falls to residence #1060.
The marker that is utilized for measuring water levels is inaccessible and by all counts fully
submerged. The roadway will remain closed until such time the waters have receded and
the roadway has been fully inspected. The current of the Black River is very strong and
can scour or undermine the banks that support the roadway.
Barkway Road Area
The water levels in the Barkway Road area have receded enough so the culvert is now
conveying the water. The culvert integrity was not disturbed by the water flow only minor
damage has been sustained – the top granular surfaces were flushed away. Town roads
crews plan to repair and facilitate the opening of the roadway as soon as possible.
MR49/Canning Road
Canning Road has been closed at the first bridge due to localized flooding. The residences
are accessible from the swing bridge and the neighbouring municipality.
South Kahshe Lake Road (SKLR)
SKLR has localized flooding in the traditional areas. There is no concern with this area at
this time.

For more information please contact:
Town of Gravenhurst, Public Works Department
publicworks@gravenhurst.ca

Ministers Touring Flooded Areas to Survey Damage, Offering Help to Municipalities

Municipal Affairs & Housing Minister Linda Jeffrey in Muskoka surveying flood areas

Posted April 23, 12pm:  Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Linda Jeffries and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Madeleine Meilleur today are touring communities affected by flooding. Linda Jeffrey is in Bracebridge and Huntsville. Meilleur is touring the South Algonquin area.

She is accompanied by experts from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Water crashing over walkway at Bracebridge Falls April 22, 8am

Services and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and is meeting with Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith and Huntsville Mayor Claude Doughty, who both declared states of emergency for their municipalities. She toured Bracebridge first and then continued on to Huntsville. She was not asked to visit other affected areas of Muskoka.

“We are very proud of the way emergency workers, local officials and residents in the communities have met the challenges of these events,” says Jeffrey. “They have shown the resilience and indomitable spirit demonstrated time and time again by the people of Ontario.”

Emergency Management Ontario field officers have already been deployed and have been working to ensure municipalities have the support they need, along with officials from the Office of the Fire Marshal, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

 

Flood Conditions: Huntsville, Bracebridge & Muskoka Lakes advisories

Post updated to include release from Township of Muskoka Lakes at 1.30pm

Huntsville Update, 12pm: The OPP report the water levels appear to have peaked in the downtown area of Huntsville. Areas around the Town have seen a water level drop. Note: please be aware that areas that have previously not seen flooding remain a concern until the water moves through the system including the surrounding lakes and southern river systems.

Bracebridge Update, 12.30pm: The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has advised that water levels in the North and South Branches of the Muskoka River and Lake Muskoka will be sustained over the next several days. The full update from the Town of Bracebridge follows after the Huntsville update below.

Muskoka Lakes Advisory, 12.46pm: You can read updates from MNR and Media Release today from Muskoka Lakes by clicking here. Media release states Lake Muskoka up 9 cm overnight and could rise another 5 cm. Lake Rosseau up 4 cm overnight and could rise by another 1 cm tomorrow. No word on Lake Joseph. Sandbags available at Glen Orchard Public Works Yard. Township Office: 705-765-3156.

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Water crashing over walkway at Bracebridge Falls April 22, 8am

Huntsville Update from OPP and Town of Huntsville: Numerous municipal roads are closed throughout the Town of Huntsville. Roads which are closed continue to be reassessed to determine which roads are able to be open. For an updated list of closed roads please see the Town of Huntsville website.

“The Town of Huntsville has recovery groups diligently working together to assess the requirements within the various areas of the municipality. The Salvation Army is working closely with the Town and continues to provide interim housing for those displaced by the flooding. Community and government agencies are meeting with Town officials to assess the requirements of the community,” says CAO Kelly Pender.

  • The Dwelling Evaluation Committee is working on a plan to restore power to the affected areas.
  • The Municipal Infrastructure Committee is working closely with the roads crews to repair and open all affected roads and bridges and complete all necessary structural integrity inspections.
  • The Residents Services Committee is working closely with those affected by the flooding to devise a plan for residents to return to their homes, once roads and power have been restored.
  • The Ministry of Transportation is working to restore Highway #11.

Area residents that have been affected by the flooding are directed to consult the Town of Huntsville website under Flood Information on returning to homes. This includes Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Electrical Safety Authority and the Ministry of Transportation. This information continues to be updated as information becomes available.

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Boathouses on Muskoka River, Santa’s Village Rd

Parents and guardians are advised to remind children to stay clear of open waters, creeks and rivers. Note that water is still at high levels flowing through Bracebridge and also into Lake Muskoka and Moon River.

Update from Town of Bracebridge: The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has advised that water levels in the North and South Branches of the Muskoka River and Lake Muskoka will be sustained over the next several days. Areas of particular concern include River Road, Wilson’s Falls Road, Springdale Shores and Springdale Park Road, Santa’s Village Road, Beaumont Drive and Muskoka Pines Road.Emergency officials continue to assess roads and will provide an update by the end of today.

  • Due to the flooding, Springdale Shores (Pvt) and Springdale Park Road continue to be without power.
  • Residents are encouraged to assess their individual situation based on this new information and make arrangements to protect their properties as water levels remain consistent over a sustained period of time.
  • To assist residents in protecting their property and reduce potential property damage, the Town of Bracebridge has made sand bags available free of charge from Fowler Construction during regular business hours, located at 1206 Rosewarne Drive.  Fowler will be open Monday, April 22, 2013 to provide sandbags to affected property owners.
  • Residents are again reminded that, should they be in an emergency situation requiring Police, Fire or Ambulance response, they should use 911 to request assistance.
  • The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) advised that the flows in the Black River have decreased and are expected to continue to drop.
  • Flood affected residents are directed to consult the Town of Bracebridge website homepage for information about staying safe during and after a flood. Information from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and Electrical Safety Authority is available through the Town’s website. This information will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.
  • Residents are advised that if they experience damage to their property they should contact their own insurance companies for advice.  Additional insurance information can also be found at the Insurance Bureau of Canada website:  http://www.ibc.ca/en.
  • Emergency Officials have been advised that the integrity of all water dams in the region is being maintained.
  • Residents and on-lookers are advised to stay away from fast moving water including power dams. Currents and road beds are unpredictable and people could put themselves and emergency personnel in danger should a rescue be required.
  • The Town’s Emergency Control Group continues to meet regularly with representatives from departments and agencies to coordinate and communicate the local response for the protection of the community.
  • The Bracebridge Sportsplex located on 110 Clearbrook Trail in Bracebridge, as well as the Village Square in Vankoughnet remain available for residents affected by the flood situation until further notice.

If you need other information of a non-emergency nature you may contact the Town of Bracebridge at (705) 645-5264 until 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 22, 2013.

 

 

 

Remember flooding in 1985 or 1998 on Lake Muskoka? MNR says this flood is worse.

BRACEBRIDGE REMAINS IN A STATE OF EMERGENCY, water levels on Lake Muskoka and Moon River rising

Posted April 22, 6 am Updated 9.26am: Just how bad is it? Will it affect me? These are the

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Beaumont Road heading toward Pride Marine side

questions many Muskokans are now asking who are outside of heavily hit areas,  such as Huntsville, Bracebridge

muskoka flood
Muskoka River at Snowmobile Bridge

and Vankoughnet.

In an interview with Muskoka News Watch, the Ministry of Natural Resources has again confirmed this flood event is the worst in recent history. Previously Bracebridge and Huntsville officials said flooding in their areas would surpass the levels experienced in 2008.

North Bala Falls Apr 22 9am
North Bala Falls Apr 22 9am

As water works its way through the Muskoka River and into Lake Muskoka and Moon River, the MNR says this will be the largest flood event since 1985 and 1998 – other occasions when residents experienced high water levels. (Yes, 1998 is correct – earlier comparisons started with more recent flooding in Huntsville and Bracebridge noting 2008 – another bad year for spring flooding but 1998 and 1985 saw higher levels).

How different is this one? Consider this: In the largest flood events in recent memory, the MNR says the water peaked at the Big East at about 170 cubic metres per second. In this flood, the Big East peaked at 230 cubic metres per second. The Big East crested Saturday at 2am as measured by the MNR’s Williamsport day logger, which is upstream from the Town of Huntsville.

Once again, this is a lot of water to move through the system. Bracebridge remains in a state of emergency as residents south of where the North and South branches of the Muskoka River (they converge just above the Riverside Inn) experience the impact of the water that is tumbling over Bracebridge Falls.

BRACEBRIDGE AREA UPDATE
The OPP are making sure areas already flooded and where residences may be impacted are being patrolled and information flyers are being given to local residents. Springbank Shores, Settler˙s Lane, Vankoughnet and area, Wilson’s Falls Road, Beaumont Drive (barely passable this morning and open only to local traffic on bend between Kerr Park and Pride Marine) and Santa’s Village Rd were all notified by yesterday that high waters were on their way.

At an emergency planning meeting late yesterday, these additional problem areas were highlighted by the OPP:

♣    The cottage area at the end of Keith Road in Bracebridge was checked and information flyers were handed out.
♣    Muskoka Pines Road was flooded out at residence # 246. Officers were on foot in this area, and checked five residences and provided information  flyers about the flood situation.
♣    Purbrook Road that runs off Fraserburg Road is passable and area residents have been contacted.
♣    Fraserburg Road at Cridiford Road has washouts spanning half the roadway.
♣    Leslie Drive and Fairlight Glen Road residents were contacted last night and information flyers were handed out.
♣    Santa’s Village Road has water on it but it was still passable last night.
♣    Spring Lake Road off of Highway 118 east is now passable to the end. There was only one residence there with lights on. Officers did not attend due to late evening.
♣    Officers patrolled Balsam Chutes and Golden Beach areas, the houses in the area are intact, the residents contacted personally and information  flyers were given out.

Area water levels appear to be either static or have receded in some areas of Bracebridge, say police. The OPP are on constant patrol in areas where roads are flooded and are identifying new areas of concern. 

Although it appears as though the worst flooding is over due to the weather conditions we have been experiencing and the local appearance of water levels in some areas is diminishing, water flows from the Huntsville area will send large amounts of water into North and South Muskoka Rivers which will ultimately flow into the Bracebridge area and points south.



The OPP and the Town of Bracebridge is continuing to remind everyone to stay clear of open waterways, creeks and rivers. The water is moving extremely fast and is very dangerous.
SHELTER REMINDER: the 24 hour temporary shelters are located at 110 Clearbrook Trail (Bracebridge Sportsplex) and 1189 Vankoughnet Road (Oakley Village Square).
LAKE MUSKOKA added to advisory yesterday

According to the MNR, as the peak moves through the watershed system now,  Lake Muskoka is rising rapidly and will certainly surpass flood levels that could cause flooding problems.  It will take a couple of more days to crest and come down to more normal levels for Lake Muskoka.  Moon River water levels are increasing incrementally as well. Yesterday, docks on Brandy Lake were seen loose and floating around the lake.

IMPORTANT: As all properties and infrastructure are different, property owners in low lying areas and on Moon River are advised to check their residences or have a neighbour check to ensure items are secured. As of Friday morning, docks were already underwater on Moon River. Dams are at full capacity as water moves over them.

Where to get more information: If you have experienced flooding on your lake or river in the area of Lake Muskoka before and are concerned, you can call the MNR directly at (705) 645-8747.

The Township of Muskoka Lakes is continuing to monitor the situation closely and is expected to determine today whether advisories are needed and how they will be shared. As long as there is no unexpected rainfall (although the forecast is calling for showers on Wednesday) there should be no significant increase in water levels beyond the peak flows happening now on Lake Muskoka. Again, areas that have flooded before should be prepared for flooding again today and tomorrow.

Around the lake from Milford Bay to Bala visual check as of 9am: Gravenhurst Wharf looks fine (as all docks are high); west Gravenhurst you could see signs of rising water; Torrance Bay shows higher levels particularly from Keeler’s Point Road; Bala’s Sun and Ski Marine dock was partially under water and water lapping over the dock in front of Bala Bay Inn. Kee and Balacade docks were not underwater. Bala Falls dam at capacity but water isn’t any higher on the Burgess Park side than Saturday while water is crashing up against the tree on Portage Landing more than it was on Friday. Some docks in the bay below the falls covered (as they have been since Friday but there are chunks of wood floating in the Bay – boats should steer clear as the water rushes through.

Flood Update: Lake Muskoka now added to Flood Advisory, power being shut off in some areas

Lake Muskoka now added to Flood Advisory, power being shut off in some areas
Posted April 21, 545pm – Bracebridge has just released an updated advisory. Here are the highlights:
Hydro One has advised that because of rising waters, Springdale Shores (Pvt) and Springdale
Park Road with be without power indefinitely.
MNW note: Other areas of Muskoka may have power shut off due to rising water levels. There are unconfirmed
reports of water having to be shut off, at least temporarily, in some Huntsville areas.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) continues to advise that water levels in the North and
South Branches of the Muskoka River and Lake Muskoka will rise over the next 48 hours.
Kelvin Grove Park
Kelvin Grove Park

Residents are encouraged to assess their individual situation based on current water levels and make arrangements to leave their properties as rising water levels are anticipated. It is possible other roads in the vicinity of the lower Muskoka River will become impassable as the water levels rise.

Bracebridge Flood: Updated Post Apr 23, 530pm – emergency shelters no longer needed

Update from Town of Bracebridge April 23, 530pm: Emergency shelters no longer needed

While shelters have been available for people displaced as a result of floodings, the Bracebridge Sportsplex has not been needed by many. As a result the Sportsplex (at 110 Clearbrook Trail) will be resuming regular hours of operation and will BracebridgesignApr22close this evening at 10:00 p.m. and reopen at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow. The Village Square in Vankoughnet is no longer necessary as an emergency shelter. Information about affected roads, continues to apply, until otherwise noted by the Town.

BRACEBRIDGE UPDATE as of April 23, 1pm: The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has advised that water levels in the North and South Branches of the Muskoka River have risen overnight as a result of increased water flow. MNR has reduced stress in the dams to the north resulting in the increased water levels in Bracebridge.  These new levels are expected to be sustained or increase over the next several days. Areas of particular concern are: River Road, Wilson’s Falls Road, Springdale Shores and Springdale Park Road, Santa’s Village Road, Beaumont Drive, Fraserburg Road (Colony and Sherwood Forest Roads) and Muskoka Pines Road.

The following roads have been closed today:

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Dock on Beaumont Road near Kerr Park, April 22 a-m
  • Fraserburg Road at Colony Road to the end
  • Colony Road
  • Sherwood Forest Road
  • Santa’s Village Road at Leslie Drive
  • Beaumont Drive at Stephen’s Bay Road
  • Springdale Shores (Pvt)

At this time, emergency officials have been advised by District of Muskoka that residents should not experience any water or sewer service interruptions.

Today, Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, are visiting the communities impacted by recent floods. The ministers will be accompanied by local emergency officials and will be going to several areas in the community to see first-hand the extent of the damage and offer the support of the government and the people of the province.

Due to the flooding, Springdale Shores (Pvt) and Springdale Park Road continue to be without power.

To assist residents in protecting their property and reduce potential property damage, the Town of Bracebridge has made sand bags available free of charge from Fowler Construction during regular business hours, located at 1206 Rosewarne Drive.  Fowler will be open Tuesday, April 23, 2013 to provide sandbags to affected property owners.

In an emergency situation requiring Police, Fire or Ambulance response, use 911.

Emergency Officials have been advised that the integrity of all water dams in the region is being maintained. Residents and on-lookers are advised to heed road closing signs.

The Bracebridge Sportsplex located on 110 Clearbrook Trail in Bracebridge, as well as the Village Square in Vankoughnet remain available for residents affected by the flood situation until further notice (Note: as of update at April 23, 530pm, emergency shelters no longer needed).

If you require other information of a non-emergency nature you may contact the Town of Bracebridge at (705) 645-5264 until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

FOR ROADS THAT MAY STILL BE AFFECTED, OR PARTIALLY AFFECTED, IN YOUR AREA OF BRACEBRIDGE, SEE POST BELOW

UPDATE Posted April 22, 5pm: Bracebridge continues to update flood conditions in the municipality. Here is the updated list of roads that are closed or partially closed or affected today:

•Beaumont Drive (partially closed)
•Black River Road at Clear Lake Road

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Beaumont Road past Stephen’s Bay Apr 22

•Boe Bay Road
•Bonnell Road
•Carlsmount Road
•Cedar Shores
•Germania Rd in the area surrounding Flynn’s Rd
•Germania Rd at Gilbert’s Swamp
•Fraserburg Rd at Lorne Rd
•Holiday Park Drive (Pvt)
•Lambert Road
•Lorne Rd
•Lone Pine Drive
•Muskoka Pines (Pvt)
•Muskoka Road 4 at Muskoka Road 35 (Patterson Corners)
•Miriam Drive past #1040
•Purbrook Rd
•River Rd, Taylor to Anne Street
•Santa’s Village Road (Leslie Street)
•Sherwood Forest Road between 1023 & 1035
•Skinner Rd
•Springdale Shores
•Thompson Rd
•Vankoughnet Rd from #1253 to the bridge
•Wharf Rd
•Wilson Falls Rd

Posted April 21, 155pm: Release from Town of Bracebridge: Further to the declaration of Emergency by Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith at 12:33 p.m. on April 19, 2013, under the Emergency Management & Civil Protection Act, below are updates since 7:15 p.m. April 20, 2013:

  1. The following is a list of roads either closed to vehicular traffic or  experiencing flooding:
    • Beaumont Drive

      Vlunteers filling sand bags Muskoka Flood
      Volunteers filling sand bags at Fowler Construction
    • Black River Road at Clear Lake Road
    • Boe Bay Road
    • Bonnell Rd
    • Bonnie Lake Camp Rd
    • Carlsmount Road
    • Cedar Shores
    • Germania Rd in the area surrounding Flynn’s Rd
    • Germania Rd at Gilbert’s Swamp
    • Fraserburg Rd at Crockford Rd
    • Fraserburg Rd at Lorne Rd
    • Holiday Park Drive (Pvt)
    • Lorne Rd
    • Lone Pine Drive
    • Muskoka Road 4 at Muskoka Road 35 (Patterson Corners)
    • Miriam Drive past #1040
    • Purbrook Rd
    • River Rd – Taylor to Anne Street
    • Santa’s Village Road (Leslie Street)
    • Sherwood Forest Road – between 1023 & 1035
    • Skinner Rd
    • Springdale Shores
    • Thompson Rd
    • Vankoughnet Rd from #1253 to the bridge
    • Wharf Rd
    • Wilson Falls Rd
    • Additional roads may be posted throughout the day
    1. he Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) continues to advise that water levels in the North and South Branches of the Muskoka River and Lake Muskoka will rise over the next 48 hours. Bracebridge residents are advised to prepare for increasing water levels.
    2. Bracebridge Emergency Officials expect water levels will significantly surpass 1985, 1998 and 2008 flooding levels. Notices to residents are being delivered door-to-door by emergency personnel warning residents to take necessary action as the following areas may experience limited access or no access if flooding occurs:
    • Beaumont Drive
    • Santa’s Village Road
    • Wilson’s Falls Road
    • Golden Beach Road
    • Holiday Park Drive
      • Springdale Shores
    1. Residents are encouraged to assess their individual situation based on current water levels and make arrangements to leave their properties as rising water levels are anticipated. It is possible other roads in the vicinity of the lower Muskoka River will become impassable as the water levels rise.
    2. To assist residents in protecting their property and reduce potential property damage, the Town of Bracebridge has made sand bags available free of charge from Fowler Construction located at 1206 Rosewarne Drive.  Fowler will be open Sunday, April 21, 2013 to provide sandbags to affected property owners.
    3. At this time, emergency officials have been advised by District of Muskoka that residents should not experience any water or sewer service interruptions.
    4. Emergency Officials have been advised that the integrity of all water dams in the region is being maintained.
    5. Residents and on-lookers are advised to stay away from fast moving water including power dams. Currents and road beds are unpredictable and could put themselves and emergency personnel in danger should a rescue be required.
    6. The Town’s Emergency Control Group continues to meet regularly with representatives from departments and agencies to coordinate and communicate the local response for the protection of the community.
    7. The Bracebridge Sportsplex located on 110 Clearbrook Trail in Bracebridge, as well as the Village Square in Vankoughnet remain available for residents affected by the flood situation until further notice.
    8. Residents are again reminded that, should they be in an emergency situation requiring Police, Fire or Ambulance response, they should use 911 to request assistance.
    9. If you require other information of a non-emergency nature you may contact the Town of Bracebridge at (705) 645-5264 until 10:00 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2013.

Flood Update: Big East watershed at peak

UPDATE FROM HUNTSVILLE: Water levels in the Huntsville lakes continue to rise as the peak moves through. The Town of Huntsville has been advised by Ministry of Natural Resources that the Huntsville lakes are currently in their high water zone.

The Big East watershed has reached its peak and now needs to move through the system. The system includes but is not limited to downtown Huntsville, Brendale Square and the surrounding lakes and southern river systems.

NOTE: Hunters Bay Radio is reporting RIVERSIDE PARK has been closed by the OPP. A town water pipe has come loose and is reportedly broken on the west side of the river. Emergency crews are turning off water there.

Some areas have already seen a water level drop, please be aware that areas that have previously not seen flooding remain a concern until the water moves through the system.

Numerous municipal roads are closed throughout the Town of Huntsville. Closed roads continue to be reassessed to determine which roads are able to be open. For an updated list of closed roads please see the Town of Huntsville website – huntsville.ca

“The Town of Huntsville is in the process of establishing recovery working groups to assess the requirements,” says CAO Kelly Pender.

Residents in these areas that have seen previous flooding are indicating that flood waters are higher than they have ever seen. The water will continue to rise over the next 24 hours. The water levels are higher than have been recorded.

Power has been shut off for safety reasons in many of the affected areas.
Property owners in low lying areas across the municipality should take immediate action to protect property as water levels increase.

Bracebridge prepares for more flooding, pictures of Muskoka River flooding

Town warns: Prepare for increased flooding on North & South Muskoka River

 

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Bracebridge April 20 9 am

Posted April 21, 10 am. An emergency planning meeting is getting under way in Bracebridge atthis hour to deal with the rising water levels threatening resident and town infrastructure. (Click on “Flood” in top Navigation Bar for pictures to date)

Yesterday, residents close to and within low lying areas of the North and South Muskoka River

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River, Riverside Inn, Boathouse, Flooding, Muskoka, River
Half submerged boathouse across from Riverside Inn, Bracebridge, April 20, 930am

were being WARNED that the water is exceeding the capacity of the dams in the Huntsville area. A large amount of water is headed towards the North Branch of the Muskoka River.

The water is expected at High Falls later today. Emergency officials are strongly urging residents to prepare now for increased flooding. This should include an evacuation plan.

Emergency managers are asking people with medical conditions or limited mobility to consider moving to a safe location.

A reminder that the 24 hour temporary shelters are located at 110 Clearbrook Trail (Bracebridge

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Boathouse seen from Santa Claus Village Rd Apr 20 9.30am, Bracebridge; rising waters & snow showers.

Sportsplex) and 1189 Vankoughnet Road (Oakley Village Square).

The OPP and the Town of Bracebridge is reminding everyone to stay clear of open waterways, creeks and rivers. The water is moving extremely quickly and is very dangerous.

The community will remain in a state of Emergency until otherwise notified.

As of last night, 36 roads in the Bracebridge area have been affected by the flooding, of those 13 remain completely closed. For more information regarding road closures and flood information, refer to the Town of Bracebridge website at www.bracebridge.ca <http://www.bracebridge.ca/> .
From the OPP: Should you be in an emergency situation requiring Police, Fire or Ambulance use 911. If you require other information of a non-emergency nature you may contact the Town of

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Flooding below Bracebridge Falls, Bert Minett Boat launch historic plaque

Bracebridge at (705) 645-5264. The OPP are also reminding residents affected by the flood situation that warming stations are available 24 hours at the Bracebridge Sportsplex located on Clearbrook Trail in Bracebridge, as well as the Village Square in Vankoughnet.

SNOWMOBILE BRIDGE STILL IN PLACE ON MUSKOKA RIVER : If you are boating along the Muskoka River parallel to Beaumont Drive and Santa’s Village Road, be advised that the snowmobile bridge spanning across the river is still in place making the river at that location impassible.

Updates to follow.

Flood Update: Hwy 11 SB closed at Allensville Road, more road closures in Bracebridge, New pictures

Pictures from April 20, more to come, Gravenhurst now getting sandbags, Town of Bracebridge web site has regular advisorys

Bracebridge FloodingUpdate posted April 20, 730 am: Careful on Hwy 11 through Allensville. Shortly after 8pm last night the water had risen under the Hwy 11 causing a southbound section of the highway to collapse at Allensville Road (north of 141).  A detour was set up within the northbound lanes.

Temporary Shelters: As well as the Bracebridge Sportsplex (110 Clearbrook Trail), the Oakley Village Square (1189 Vankoughnet Road) is open for use as a temporary shelter.  The Sportsplex and Village Square

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Bracebridge April 20 9 am

will be open 24 hours per day until further notice.  Anyone displaced because of the flooding and requiring temporary shelter can go to the Sportsplex of Village Square as necessary. More roads are being added the list of those affected by rising water levels. Please see the full list in the post below.

Update from Town of Bracebridge and Health Unit: Bracebridge and Huntsville emergency due to flooding

Update posted April 19, 6.50pm: Early this afternoon Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith declared an Emergency due to increasing water levels for the Town, as did Huntsville

Flooding Bracebridge Flood Huntsville Emergency Muskoka
Looking toward Annie Williams Park, Bracebridge. House in photo is the pumphouse.

Mayor Claude Doughty (see earlier posts on Muskoka News Watch).

Below is an update from the Town, including which roads might be closed or affected by flooding. The health unit also warns about water that may have been contaminated from flooding or how flooding may affect those on wells. For updates through the weekend, check the websites for both towns.

BRACEBRIDGE UPDATE – TOWN RELEASE as of 5pm (fourth advisory): The Town of Bracebridge has been advised by the Ministry of Natural Resources that water levels on the North and South Branches of the Muskoka River and Black River will continue to rise over the next 24 hours.  In addition, localized flooding is being experienced in low lying areas.  There have been a number of culvert and road washouts.

Public Works staff is responding to these road flooding issues.  As a result of the number and severity of these washouts and continued rainfall it will take time to re-open some roads.

Ministry of Natural Resources advises that water levels will continue to rise.  Property owners in adjacent low lying areas are advised to take precautionary measures to protect persons and property as water levels continue increase.

Parents and guardians are advised to remind children to stay clear of open waters, creeks and rivers.  The Town has declared all Town water-side parks and access points closed until further notice to help ensure the public safety during the flood emergency.
Motorists are advised to heed road closed signs as roadways or culverts may be washed out but not visible to the driver.

ROADS AFFECTED: Roads that are either closed to vehicular traffic or are experiencing flooding include (in alphabetical order, scroll down to view):

  • Bigwind Lake Rd – 1km in from Bird Lake Rd
  • Bird Lake Road
  • Boe Bay Road
  • Bonnell Rd
  • Carlsmount Road
  • Fawn Lake Rd
  • Fraserburg Road now at Crockford Road
  • Gagnon Rd
  • Germania Rd in the area surrounding Flynn’s Rd
  • Fraserburg Rd at Lorne Rd
  • Lone Pine Drive
  • Milne Rd
  • Miriam Drive past #1040
  • Peace Valley Rd
  • Prospect Lake Rd – Highway 118E to Big Island Rd
  • Purbrook Rd
  • River Rd – Taylor to Anne Street
  • Roxborough Road – at end (open as of April 20)
  • Settlers Lane near end of road
  • Sherwood Forest Road – between 1023 & 1035
  • Skinner Rd
  • Speicher Lane
  • Vankoughnet Rd from #1253 to the bridge
  • Waters Road
  • Wharf Rd
  • Wilson Falls Rd

Protect yourself during flood conditions, says Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU)

The local health unit warns flooding caused by rain and snow melt this week could potentially contaminate water in drilled or dug wells, allowing harmful bacteria into the drinking supply. Until you can get your well water tested, use bottled water for drinking, making infant formula, juices, cooking, making ice, washing fruits and vegetables or brushing teeth. Boiling your water rapidly for at least one minute is also an effective
 means for dealing with contamination by harmful organisms. Homeowners should also be aware that food items that have been in contact with flood water need to be thrown out. Canned goods remain safe but the outside of cans must be thoroughly washed and
 disinfected before being opened.

Update: Bracebridge and Huntsville declare emergency re Flood Warnings

Update: 1.23 pm Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith has also declared an emergency for Bracebridge. To read the Town release today (in PDF), please click here.
Update: As of 12.55pm today (April 19) the Town of Bracebridge has joined Huntsville in warning residents of increasing water levels. Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black RiverIn Huntsville, Mayor Claude Doughty has declared an emergency – damage estimated at over one million dollars so far.

HUNTSVILLE: Huntsville Mayor Claude Doughty has formally declared an emergency for the Town of Huntsville. In a release, the Town states: “The community has experienced an extreme weather event including over 50mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours resulting in massive destruction of our municipal infrastructure. Many roads are either impassible or destroyed by the flooding in the area. Initial estimates put the damage at an amount in excess of one million dollars.”

Property owners in low lying areas are advised to take precautionary measures immediately as water levels increase.

Muskoka, flood, Moon River, falls, Bala
High water on Moon Rive: docks underwater

“All resources have been deployed and we continue to monitor the situation.” says Huntsville CAO Kelly Pender.

BRACEBRIDGE: The MNR has issued a Flood Warning about the increasing water levels on the North and South branches of the Muskoka River. Property owners in the area of these rivers and other low lying areas of Bracebridge are advised to take precautionary measures to protect property and persons as water levels continue to increase.
Everyone is reminded to stay clear of open waters, creeks and rivers.

BEAUMONT DRIVE Bracebridge: April 19

Water continues to rise: Below the falls the Parking lot on the North side is flooded as is part of the park on the South side.

Flooding Bracebridge
Looking towards Annie Williams Park

MNW encourages readers to listen to local radio and other media outlets for updates on the weather situation. READERS: If you have photos of severe flooding in your area you feel you want to share, please email them to Editor@muskokanewsarchive.com and we will post with your name as photo credit (or without credit if you prefer).

 

Take care around Huntsville waterways: Flood Watch now Flood Warning

THIS IS A FLOOD WARNING: Water levels could rise above 2008 flooding levels

Posted April 19, 10am: The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is warning flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities. In particular, the MNR has advised the Town of Huntsville of increasing water levels on the Big East River. Water levels are expected to surpass the 2008 flooding levels.  

Currently there are many road washouts across the Huntsville area. By mid afternoon today the flood prone roads may be impassable.

Property owners in low lying areas should take precautionary measures immediately to protect property as water levels increase.

“Municipal staff and services along with emergency services are currently working on managing this situation,” says Huntsville CAO Kelly Pender.

Parents and guardians are advised to remind children to stay clear of open waters, creeks and rivers.

This Flood Warning will be updated as further information becomes available from the Ministry of Natural Resources.

For further updates visit Huntsville.ca

Hydro Wars: Muskoka Lakes Township vs. Province in Legal Battle

Breaking News: Township of Muskoka Lakes ups bid to block hydro plant with judicial review

Posted April 18, 1pm: For about a week now, Muskoka Lakes Mayor Alice Murphy has been Tweeting about the province being linked to what she calls “illegal” activity in relation to the proposed Bala hydro plant. It appears the Mayor wasn’t just sabre rattling: Muskoka News Watch has learned the Corporation of the Township of Muskoka Lakes is taking the Province of Ontario to court.

According to the Ontario Attorney General’s Office, the Township filed its intention to challenge the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) in a Barrie court on April 9.

Muskoka Lakes vs MNR court file
Muskoka Lakes vs MNR court file

 

The Ministry of the Attorney General has confirmed a notice of application by the Corporation of the Township of Muskoka Lakes that was scheduled for April 9 in court in Barrie relates to an MNR decision to proceed with permits for a water energy project. Ministry communications officer Brendan Crawley says the application was adjourned, and will now be heard as a Judicial Review Application in Divisional Court in Toronto on June 28, 2013.

While the contents of that application have yet to be confirmed, statements made on social media by Mayor Murphy and information from sources makes it easy to connect the dots as to what may have prompted the legal move. In an email newsletter circulated from the anti-hydro plant lobby, Save the Bala Falls on April 15, the group said it was waiting to hear back from the Ministry of Natural Resources on a number of concerns in relations to approvals required from the MNR. Quoting from the newsletter: “Another concern is that the proponent’s current proposal would obstruct the Portage between Bala Bay (Lake Muskoka) and the Moon River – and the Public Lands Act does not permit this.”

It may be that the cornerstone of the Township’s case is the Public Lands Act, which suggests any obstruction of a portage is an offence. Mayor Alice Murphy questioned the legality of portage rights on April 1 in a Tweet directed to Premier Kathleen Wynne:

Alice Murphy@MayorMurphy 1 Apr @Kathleen_Wynne: Why are #Muskoka‘s legal portage rights not protected? #onpoli

Mayor Murphy has also been directing Tweets this week at Toronto media personalities (e.g., Scott Stinson of National Post, John Tory, CFRB) about money wasted on power plant cancellations. In those Tweets she accuses the province of acting “illegally”.

Alice Murphy@MayorMurphy 15 Apr

#OLP continuing w/ #BalaFalls hydroplant even though illegal. More $s wasted. @scott_stinson Wrong on Mississauga: http://natpo.st/ZsUO4Z

Mississauga #s 45% > #OLP reports. #Ont continues to push hydroplant @ #BalaFalls even tho illegal. More $s.

For its part, the MNR told Muskoka News Watch it can not comment on the case, or its basis, because of the judicial review in progress. MNW hopes to have more details on the Township of Muskoka Lakes vs. Ontario application soon, and has requested comment from the Township as well.

For your info:

What is a judicial review? It’s a process where a court of law is asked to rule on the appropriateness of the decision of an administrative agency or tribunal. Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commission has good information on How a judicial review works.

 

 

Wheelchair skateboarder Tyler Deith of Huntsville dies after 3-wheel motorcycle crash

32-year-old Tyler Deith dead after crash Tuesday

Posted April 17: 1045 am: A Huntsville man is dead after being thrown from a three-wheel motorcycle and hitting a tree. Police say 32-year-old Tyler Deith died after the motorcycle he was on lost control on Macks Road in the Port Sydney area. The initial investigation finds that the three wheel motorcycle he was on flipped, throwing him from the machine.  The report says he hit a tree.  Deith was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Deith suffered a lasting spinal injury in a motorcycle accident in October 2001 and has made a name for himself as an extreme wheelchair skateboarder (Read an interview featuring Deith on Rollingpix). One of Deith’s fans commenting on this Metacafe video of him referred to him as one of “the most extreme people you will ever see.”

A post mortem is scheduled for today (Wednesday April 17, 2013).

Bala Cranberry Festival reports on 2012 event, new Board acclaimed

2012 Festival impact to GDP of $414,500, according to Festivals & Events Ontario

Posted April 16, 530pm: Planning for the 2013 Bala Cranberry Festival is already under way with a new Board of Directors voted in last night at the Bala Community Centre. The Board always needs between nine and 12 people and last night, 12 people were nominated

Muskoka, Art Show, Bala, Muskoka arts and culture, Cranberry, Cranberry Marsh, Ontario festivals, Bala Cranberry Festival, Muskoka event
Bala Cranberry Festival 2013 Board of Directors

and acclaimed. They are Amy Taylor, Ken Bol, Tiffany Bol, Matthew French, Michelle Jarick, Judy Webb, Melissa Cope, Eva Moore, Kim Ellis, Carol Jeannotte, Meredith Hendy and Heather Scott (see new Board photo at left). About 50 people (40 attending and 10 at the board table) gathered to ask questions of the Board and express support for the Festival. The crowd heard from Board secretary Matthew French who presented findings from a Festival and Events Ontario (FEO) survey that pegged total GDP impact from the festival at $414,500. French explained the FEO derives the GDP figure from the total spend by attendees, which was about $886,000. The report by the FEO cost the Festival $7,100 but that amount was offset by a $5,000 grant.

Festival chips away at ongoing tax assessment

Some members of the audience expressed surprise upon hearing details of how previous Boards and the 2012 Board have handled such challenges as the need to continue to pay over $81,000 in GST/PST (now HST) — an amount including interest assessed as a result of 13 years of Festival Boards that neither collected nor paid those taxes. Boards during that time had apparently not been informed the event was subject to provincial or federal sales tax. The $81K amount was determined after a previous festival board made a voluntary disclosure on discovering the taxes had to be paid (Just over $22,000 is still owing on the current balance sheet). Still, the Cranberry Festival is holding its own, although attendance is a concern. There were just over 10,000 attendees in 2012. While that’s up from about 8,000 in 2011, it’s well below the over 15,000 tracked in 2009 and the more than 20,000 attendees in 2001 (numbers from the 2012 Annual Report).  Revenue from button sales, however, was up, (the price of a button increased a few years ago to $7 and some Board members believe the higher price may have offset the lower attendance). Thanks were expressed to outgoing Chair Wally Henderson and all members of the 2012 Board.

“What a waste”: Norm Miller reacts to auditor report on gas plant costs

Miller responds to Auditor confirming Gas Plant Cancellation cost is $85million higher
Posted April 15, 9.42am: Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter’s report on the Mississauga Gas Plant confirms that “taxpayers will be forced to foot an even heftier bill for the cost of a decision that was purely political,” says Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller. He was responding to the Auditor’s report released yesterday that states Ontarians are paying $275 million for the cancellation of the Mississauga Gas Plant — $85million dollars more than the Liberal government had reported.

Parry Sound Muskoka MPP Norm Miller, Muskoka, Progressive Conservative, Ontario politics
MPP Norm Miller

“What a waste of precious resources,” continues Miller. “We have a long list of better uses for that money right here in Parry Sound-Muskoka starting with our health care needs.”

The Auditor’s report only addresses the cancellation costs for the Mississauga Plant, with a separate report set to be released in August that will detail the true costs of cancelling the more expensive Oakville gas power plant that independent energy experts predict could cost upwards of $800 million.

In a news release today, Miller notes that Hydro rates across the province are set to increase again on May 1st. “Just how much of this increase is related to the cost of these gas plant cancellations is still unknown,” he adds, concluding: “Truly, it is concerning that ratepayers from across Ontario are being forced to pay for the Liberal decision to save seats in Mississauga and Oakville during the last election.”

Trudeau new Liberal leader: official results

The Results:

Justin Trudeau 24,668 > Joyce Murray 3,130
>>Martha Hall Findlay 1,760
>>> Martin Cauchon 815
>>>>Deborah Coyne 214 and Karen McCrimmon with 210

Note: For those wondering why this doesn’t add up to 104,552, it was a weighted ballot.

Please see leadership watch post below for reaction from Parry Sound Muskoka Liberal Association President Leigh Beal. NOTE: In Parry Sound-Muskoka, the weighted vote (TBC) turned out this way: 86 for Justin Trudeau, 7 for Joyce Murray and 4 for Martha Hall Findlay. No other leadership contenders won support in our riding.

Liberals crown Trudeau as new party leader, Parry Sound Muskoka Liberals react

Does this make him Trudeau the Second?
Posted April 14, 6.33pm: And the winner is…oui, it’s Justin Trudeau. With 24,668 votes. And who was number two?

  • Joyce Murray > 3,130
  • Martha Hall Findlay > 1,760
  • Martin Cauchon > 815
  • Deborah Coyne > 214
  • Karen McCrimmon 210

Liberal party officials say 82% of eligible voters cast their votes for leader — 104, 552 seems to be agreed upon number.

“We are marking this moment as a turning point in Canadian history as Canadians recall the past service of Liberals to the growth and prosperity of Canada and discuss Canada’s future as a world player and champion of freedom and inclusiveness. Our party will serve all Canadians… we are an open accessible and accountable party that will work with all parties toward the betterment of all Canadians and the restoration of positive and productive relations with the world community…” Parry Sound-Muskoka Liberal Association President Leigh Beal

Adds Muskoka Liberal Dave Hudson: “Justin’s address to the Liberals
gathered in Ottawa and Canadians across the country left me with a stronger feeling of optimism and sense of anticipation than I have felt in several years!”

Local Liberals await federal leadership results in Bracebridge

Justin Trudeau, Liberal, #lpcldr, Ottawa, Liberal Party of Canada, Parry Sound Muskoka Liberals
Parry Sound Muskoka Liberals wait to hear the news in Bracebridge

April 14, 340pm: The polls closed at 3pm and the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is expected to be announced as early as 6 pm today.

Justin Trudeau, Liberal, #lpcldr, Ottawa, Liberal Party of Canada
In Bracebridge, Justin Trudeau accepts photos of 1974 Segwun launch event he attended with his father

Members of the Parry Sound-Muskoka Federal Liberal Association and Liberal supporters are gathering at the South

Justin Trudeau, Liberal, #lpcldr, Ottawa, Liberal Party of Canada, Cindy Waters
Trudeau meets with supporters in Bracebridge while former Liberal riding candidate Cindy Waters (over right shoulder) looks on

Muskoka Curling and Golf Club in Bracebridge this afternoon to witness the final results. More than 100,000 people took part in the vote. Pretty much everyone expects it will be Justin Trudeau that Liberals will have pinned their future hopes for the party on. Trudeau attracted over 300 people during his visit to Bracebridge February 15 and has been

Justin Trudeau, Liberal, #lpcldr, Ottawa, Liberal Party of Canada
Trudeau fields questions in Bracebridge Feb. 15

drawing equally large crowds across the country. But who will be number two?

Hall Findlay Feb. 14
Hall Findlay

Martha Hall Findlay has been very present in the media and on social media as her supporters attempted a final push. Joyce Murray was also experiencing some last minute momentum in the polls up to the Liberal showcase last weekend. The results will be posted here on Muskoka News Watch as soon as final numbers are available.

Joyce Murray, Liberal, Leadership, Muskoka Liberals
Joyce Murray

Union local reacts after OLRB rules in favour of school boards about strike action

Union did prompt illegal strike action, rules OLRB; Ruling doesn’t smooth relationship with local Board, says union local president

Posted April 12: Advising elementary school teachers to not take part in extracurricular activities amounts to an illegal strike action, according to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). But that ruling won’t calm tensions at local schools, says Steve Colliver, president of the ETFO local representing teachers in Muskoka, Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton.

The OLRB decision was issued after the Trillium Lakelands and Upper Canada District School Boards lodged a labour relations complaint in January regarding advice ETFO issued to members about after school services.

Just before the ruling came down, Colliver told MNW that “In our board (Trillium Lakelands), it remains to be seen whether or not elementary teachers are willing to start volunteering again. Based on what I have been hearing from some of our members, and given the approach used by TLDSB management [the board was one of only 2 school boards in the province to take the union to the OLRB over the issue] it is likely to be harder for them to make such a choice here than in other jurisdictions.”

MNW caught up with Colliver yesterday when the ruling came down for a brief Q&A about what might happen now.

Q: Does your previous statement about teachers being potentially reluctant to volunteer still stand now that the OLRB has ruled?

A: Absolutely – It may be a surprise to the employer, but that is how folks are feeling and it is what I have been hearing from members when the decision was released. The point is that members will continue to make their own individual decisions and the actions the employer has taken in this matter are bound to have an effect on that.”

Q: What do you think the ruling accomplished? Will it be a cautionary tale for future consideration by the union?
“What did this whole exercise accomplish?  That’s a question that’s best referred to the Board since it made the application to the OLRB, not the local. It certainly has not helped calm the situation at Trillium Lakelands – far from it. As labour relations normalize around the province, the teachers in Trillium Lakelands are just feeling even more angry and disrespected by their employer. They wonder why the Board needed to spend over $100,000 to be told by the OLRB what they knew all along to be the case – that participation in voluntary activities is an individual choice for teachers.”

Q: Does this decision affect ETFO’s challenge of the definition of ‘strike’?
                                A: “This interim decision by the OLRB is only part 1 of the case. The next part involves Charter discussions at the OLRB. The Board will need to use even more taxpayer money for this case — money that could be providing much needed educational services for students in Trillium Lakelands.”

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public

school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada. After hearing the ruling, ETFO President Sam Hammond had fighting words on Twitter: “The OLRB’s decision has made me seriously consider not participating in additional duties for the rest of my career.”

ETFO, Teachers, Teachers Strike, After School, Extra Curricular, Bill 155
Teachers Protest at School Board Meeting February 26

For Trillium Lakelands, the OLRB ruling was welcome news. In an interview with Moose FM yesterday, TLDSB chair Karen Round said the OLRB ruling was a needed clarification and provides for a ‘clean slate’. See and hear her comments on Moose FM. (will take you to Moose FM site  and story. OLRB Decision summarized below).

OLRB DECISION SUMMARY

The Board finds the following:

♣    notwithstanding that ETFO, on March 26, 2013 (well after the hearing had concluded), withdrew its “advice” to members not to participate in voluntary/extracurricular activities, there was still a labour relations purpose to issuing this decision – it was not clearly moot;
♣    although the Government has repealed the Putting Students First Act (Bill 115), the collective agreements imposed by that legislation continue to exist and operate;
♣    the withdrawal in combination or in concert of participation in voluntary co-instructional (or extracurricular ) activities constitutes a :strike” within the meaning of the Education Act; and,
♣    no final orders are issued because ETFO’s Charter challenge to the definition of strike in the Education Act remains to be litigated, but a direction to post a Notice to Employees is issued clarifying the stage that this litigation has reached and the position of ETFO (at least up until it withdrew its “advice” to members on members on March 26, 2013) with respect to the participation of its members in the withdrawal of these activities.

Previous posts related to this story:

Teachers expected back at bargaining table March 21

Storm warning, OPP call for caution if travelling tonight

Freezing rain could make travel treacherous, could bring power outages, Muskoka weather alerts upgraded to Warning from Watch notice

Posted April 11: 1040am: Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachments within the OPP Central Region are warning travellers heading into Central Ontario to exercise caution over the next 24-hours as an intense Spring storm makes its way into the area (expected to start late today). The storm is expected to bring extended periods of freezing rain, ice pellets and snow to many areas that could make roads treacherous when it comes to travel. Early this morning, Environment Canada upgraded the warning from a Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Storm Warning. So even though it’s spring and areas south of Muskoka could be harder hit, Muskokans should be prepared if heading out later today.

According to Environment Canada, here is the area that could be affected: The area east of Georgian Bay toward Eastern Ontario including the Ottawa region. Snow mixed with ice pellets is expected to begin tonight and continue through much of tomorrow (Friday). The majority of the precipitation should be ice pellets with up to 10 to 15 centimetres expected. Freezing rain is also a threat for these regions, although is not expected to be as widespread as regions farther to the south.

Motorists are encouraged by the OPP to monitor local weather conditions and follow the advice of the Police and Environment Canada.

Winter driving conditions will make a return to the area and motorists are reminded to:

  • Drive according to the road conditions.
  • Reduce speed and increase your following distance as required.
  • Make sure that your windshield washer reservoir is filled and carry extra washer fluid.
  • Travel with a full tank of gas.
  • Have a fully charged cellphone with you to call for help if you become stranded or happen to break down unexpectedly.
  • Be cautious when travelling on back or secondary roads as ice accumulation can result in falling trees or limbs.
  • Stay off the roads if conditions begin to deteriorate.
  • Listen to local radio stations for any road closures or updated weather warnings.

Power outages possible: The OPP also warns the public to be prepared for the possibility of power outages as the expected freezing rain and ice pellets could impact the delivery of hydro to homes and businesses.

Nipissing University mourns Muskoka campus student Lindsay Wilson

Nipissing offering counselling and planning to help students attend memorial services

April 8 4pm: Nipissing University is in mourning after losing one of their own: 26-year-old Lindsay Wilson was a fourth year student in the Child and Family Studies program at the Bracebridge campus. Beverly Martin, Director of External Relations for Nipissing University, spoke with MNW today about how they are dealing with this tragedy.

“The entire Nipissing community has been shocked by this news and our hearts go out to her family, her friends and to our colleagues who taught her, and to our students who sat alongside her in class for the last several years,” says Martin.

Lindsay Wilson (right) shown at Idle No More rally organized by Nipissing U students in Bracebridge Jan. 28
Lindsay Wilson (right) shown at Idle No More rally organized by Nipissing U students in Bracebridge Jan. 28

Wilson, originally from Ajax, was killed Friday in the shooting on Curling Club Road in Bracebridge. Also dead is 32-year old Jeremy Raymond Pearson of  South Frontenac, Ontario, a man her mother has identified as Lindsay’s ex-boyfriend.

Memorials for Wilson are so far planned in Whitby and Kingston. Although there are no official plans yet, Martin says the university is planning to offer transportation and a counselor to accompany students to attend services for Wilson. Adds Martin, “We’re working to support our students, staff and faculty through this difficult time. We’re being proactive in helping our students and have support systems in place for our faculty and staff.”

Dr. Mike DeGagné, President and Vice-Chancellor of Nipissing University, informed the student population of the sad news on the Nipissing University website yesterday. His expression of sympathy includes a list of counselling services available for those affected by her loss.

Memorial services for Lindsay Wilson: A tribute to Lindsay will be held at Barnes Memorial Funeral Home, 5295 Thickson Rd. N., Whitby, Ontario for her family and friends in the GTA and another at Robert J. Reid & Sons Funeral Home, Kingston, Ontario for her family and friends in Kingston.

 

 

 

 

Car crashes into Huntsville office, no injuries reported

Crash creates unexpected ‘drive in’ in Huntsville office building
Posted April 8, 1050am: Sanderson Monument office staff in Huntsville are used to relatively sombre walk in traffic, but this Friday they had someone drive right in. Provincial police in Huntsville say a car crashed into the building on Cliff Avenue on Friday night just before 5pm. The car was in the parking lot of a business on the street, report police, when it reversed and banged into two separate parked vehicles, damaging both. The same car then went over a curb and crashed through the wall of the Sanderson Monument office, pushing a desk inside the office to the other side of the building. The person working inside just happened to be away from his desk and was not injured. The driver was also uninjured, according to the police report, but was taken to hospital. A 55-year-old Huntsville woman faces charges of impaired driving in connection with the accident and will appear in court on May 8.

Wahta Road 1 not a Wahta road, says Council

Wahta Mohawks Council confirms Wahta Road 1 not its responsibility

Posted April 7, 5pm: Reacting to a story in March, Neighbours rally to fix part of Wahta Road #1, the Wahta Mohawks Council says the road on Wahta Mohawk Territory is not owned or operated by the Council.

In the March 18 article, 64-year-old Barbara Dewasha said she had approached Councilors about the state of her road, but had been refused help, as (quoting Dewasha in the article) “they say it’s a private road.”

Wahta, Muskoka, Wahta Mohawks, Band Council, Wahta Mohawk Territory, Dewasha
In March, neighbors made Wahta Rd 1 passable again

Neighbour Cal White disagreed, pointing to the road’s signage as an indicator of ownership. In a letter to Muskoka News Watch, Council explains the signage is for emergency purposes only and does not identify the road as a public right of way. MNW requested reaction from Council on March 17 upon learning of the neighbours’ efforts to make Wahta Road passable again.

Here is their response in a downloadable PDF: Council Response Apr7 — or read it, verbatim, below.

“The Wahta Mohawks Council would like to clarify and correct the misleading and incorrect information provided in your article of Enniskó:wa\March 18th, pertaining to the Wahta Road #1.

First and foremost, this “road” is in fact, a private road or driveway. Both the eastern and western sections of the “road” are, in fact, private property. There are no records indicating that this private “road” was transferred to the Wahta Mohawks. Therefore the Wahta Mohawks do not have a legal responsibility to maintain or clear the road.
However, the Wahta Mohawks had, in the past, maintained the “road” and had the snow plow pass through there in the winter. This was done until we were informed by Ms Dewasha in a letter dated Enniskó:wa\March 9, 2000 that the “road” was her personal property and that:

“….Chief and Council cease any further work on this road and repair the road to its condition prior to the culvert being installed. This means removing the culvert, the dike, and replacing the 4 loads of clay that were acting as a dam between the two properties…….”

We were also provided a letter from INAC dated Tsothohrhkó:wa\January 5, 1998 in which they state:
“Jacques Desrochers of the departmental survey section was consulted and found that the locatee is the owner of the road in question.”

Based on this evidence and respecting Ms Dewashas wishes, the Wahta Mohawks Council no longer takes any responsibility for the maintenance or up keep of the road.
With regard to the statement you report made by Mr White regarding the signage, this “road” was identified as “Wahta RD 1” for the purposes of 911 emergency services and not to identify the “road” as a public right of way. It may benefit Mr White if he were to check his facts before making such erroneous statements.

In closing we suggest that, as an award winning journalist, you obtain both sides of the issue along with the pertinent facts, before printing your story.”

Thank you for your interest in our affairs.
Wahta Mohawks Council

Past Posts regarding Wahta 

Neighbours rally to fix part of Wahta Road 1

What’s going on in Wahta? July 2012

OPP confirm identities of Bracebridge shooting victims

Posted April 8, 740am: Police have now identified the two people who died in Friday’s shooting tragedy in Bracebridge. They are 26-year-old Lindsay Wilson of Ajax, Ontario, who was attending school in Bracebridge, and 32-year old Jeremy Raymond Pearson of  South Frontenac, Ontario.

Lindsay Wilson (right) with friend
Lindsay Wilson (right) with friend at Jan. 28 rally. Tributes to Lindsay are to be held in Whitby and Kingston.

Due to the domestic nature of this investigation, police are providing no further official details at this time.

Residents of the Curling Club Road and Golf Club Road area in Bracebridge were shocked to hear multiple gun shots at a home on Curling Club Road shortly before 4pm on Friday. Upon arrival at the scene, police found two people located in front of a residence on Curling Club Road that were found to be suffering from life threatening injuries. Reports in the Toronto Star quote Lindsay’s mother, Alison Irons, as identifying the dead man as Lindsay’s ex boyfriend. Lindsay Wilson was attending Nipissing University’s Muskoka Campus and was renting a room in the Curling Club Road home. The landlord, who witnesses say was a local teacher, was not at home during the shooting.

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by members of the Muskoka Crime Unit (MCU),  OPP Forensic Identification Unit(FIU) and OPP Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB).

For information about memorials for Lindsay Wilson, please visit her memorial and obituary page at Barnes Funeral Home.

Profile: CAO Chris Wray finding Muskoka Lakes to his liking

MNW Profile: A Dockside Chat with new Muskoka Lakes CAO Chris Wray

Posted April 7, 2013: He’s four months into the job as Chief Administrative Officer at the Township of Muskoka Lakes, and while Chris Wray is still considering what corner of the township to make his personal home, he’s settled in to his new Township office quite seamlessly.

Muskoka Lakes, CAO
Chris Wray, CAO, Township of Muskoka Lakes

Township Council announced last October that a replacement had been found for Walt Schmidt, who moved to the Town of Bracebridge as Director of Public Works.  John Curran stepped in to fill the gap until Schmidt’s successor could be found. Wray’s first day was December 10, 2012 and he sat down with MNW at Just Crepes in Port Carling to share some of early impressions of Muskoka and what it’s like to be ‘the new guy’ at Township.

Q:  After almost 14 years in Wawa, here you are in Muskoka Lakes: how are you liking us so far?
A: My short time here has been pleasant. Being no stranger to this part of Ontario, my familiarity with the area has certainly helped me to accustom myself here. While I do miss the wide open spaces of being further north, I really like being closer to the many services that are offered in the region while at the same time I am able to drive a short distance and experience the vast diversity of the outdoors.

Q: You had applied to Muskoka Lakes once before. What makes our township such an attractive employer and place to be for you?
A: I did apply at Muskoka Lakes once before. It was about 2008, and while I was chosen for an interview, I could not attend due to illness. Of course, I’m impressed by the beauty of the area. More importantly, I have been so impressed with the professionalism of the staff and this is making my adjustment here much easier – they are so helpful. I have also been very pleased with the guidance provided by Council and the friendliness of the ratepayers.

Q: Can you give a quick rundown on your background as it applies to your new job?
A: I moved from the private sector in 1996 (working in Toronto) and moved to Ignace, Ontario to take a job as the CAO/Treasurer. On my first day, I was informed that I would also be the Clerk! My position in Ignace was a real eye-opener and a learning experience. After three years, I applied for, and was successful in obtaining, the position of CAO/Clerk in Wawa. In 2004 I also took on the role as Treasurer.  It was my background in the information technology industry where paradigms “move” constantly that prepared me for my role in municipal governance. More formal education was provided through the Certified General Accountants and Certified Management Accountants Associations and the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario.

Q: As you bring a fresh perspective, what do you see are the biggest challenges – short term – for the township moving forward? What about longer term, post 2013?
A: Certainly a discussion on the challenges of Muskoka Lakes could go on for quite some time.  However, on a lighter note, and given the structural changes that have been made within the Township, I think that we will need to work hard as we implement the newer services such as economic development and by-law enforcement.  The review of the Zoning Bylaw would also have to be considered in that list – as well as ensuring that we have the proper resources to address the short-term objectives of Council’s strategic plans.

Longer term: again ensuring that we have the resources necessary to address matters in the strategic plan along with a review of older policies and procedures to address matters such as asset management, reserve fund policies and general governance.  It will also be important to continue to build a profile for Muskoka Lakes with both the Provincial and Federal Governments while keeping an eye on the declining investments being made by these levels of government, generally in the municipal sector.

On a more personal note, I look forward to getting to know all of our staff better and continuing to build our management team. Moreover, I am also looking forward to getting out into the community to meet the various groups and as many ratepayers as possible.

Q: Are there things you’d like to see improved on right away? Are there processes or means of doing things that you have found impressive?
A: I think that anybody who moves into a new job can see any number of things that they think could be improved. There are many things that I have identified but it takes time to explore all the factions of each item and then to consult with our team before we make any major changes. On the other hand, I have found many things to be impressive. We have a top notch and very knowledgeable Management team who works together for the betterment of our community and organization.  We have a Public Works, Building Department and Volunteer Fire Department who cover an astounding 800 square kilometers of service area and do a great job of keeping our residents safe. Our Land Use Planning Department has been doing a tremendous job of guiding applicants and Council through our Official Plan and Zoning By-law as more complicated planning applications come forward. Our Administrative area does a great job of ensuring general governance is done with professionalism and is well organized which can be attributed to well maintained records.

Q: What do you think are our Township’s greatest strengths?
A: My early observations of the strengths we possess include; our location (being centrally located), the professionalism and knowledge level of the municipal staff, the uniqueness of the topography in the area and the careful development that has occurred in the past. I also think that having a dedicated Mayor and Council along with an involved ratepayer’s base only serves to strengthen us as a community.

Q: Development and re-development are tricky issues in our municipality. What type of development do you support for Muskoka Lakes?
A:   Development and re-development can be tricky issues for any community: north or south, rural or urban. Development in Muskoka Lakes must be guided by the policies of the Township (Official Plan, Zoning By-law etc) while ensuring compliance with the higher orders of governance.  Having said that, we always must be careful to balance new development against these policies and always take into consideration opportunities for re-development.

Q: What pet ‘peeves’ do you have as a CAO – can you let us (and therefore staff, too) in on such things that you find frustrating and unnecessary? If you had to pinpoint just one, what would it be?
A: My staff and I are developing a great relationship.  Anything that frustrates them most certainly frustrates me.  Perhaps one of the most frustrating things that I have experienced in my career occurs when I hear; “it’s not my responsibility” or “it’s not my job”.  If on a daily basis we all stepped outside of our comfort zone or paradigm of responsibility we could make our community and society so much better.

Q: You’ve said publicly you won’t tolerate bullying type of behaviour. Does that apply both to the public and from Council members or amongst staff? Do you plan to introduce a code of conduct to address this issue?
A: Bullying of any type is not conducive to productivity – nothing positive comes of it.  To that end, bullying should not be tolerated by anyone.  I don’t see that the introduction of a code of conduct is useful to address potential bullying in and of itself. Such a code, used by many organizations (both private and public sector) is a great tool to set expected behaviours for all.

Q: You mentioned a Communications policy may be something that needs to be looked at. In your perfect world, how do you want the public to communicate with you and other staff – and how do you like to deal with media?
A:  We do have a communications policy in development. The policy will cover the municipal organization.  Communication between ratepayers and municipal staff should be encouraged through all methods – after all, we (the municipal staff) exist because of the ratepayer sand we are here to serve them.  Communication can come in various modes; email, phone calls, meetings and letter post. Such methods allow for opportunities to educate and provide information that will make or community a better place to live.

The method on how the Township communicates with the media will also be detailed in the communications policy. Generally, the main spokesperson for any municipal organizations is the Mayor followed by the Chief Administrative Officer.  This does not mean that communication is limited to these two positions as the policy will detail.

Q: What kinds of efforts have you applauded and rewarded/recognized in the past – give us some indication of what makes CAO Wray happy to be at work?
A: The now retired Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, had a saying that he repeated in many if not all of his speeches: “one of us is not as strong as all of us”.  While this is a variation of a Japanese Proverb it rings true. To that end, I love to celebrate all of our successes and while I think it is important to recognize individual successes it is perhaps more important to recognize the success as a team – because it is only as a team that we can be successful. Therefore, it is “our success” that makes me happy to be at work.

Q:  Time to get more personal now. Have you got any particular area in Muskoka you hope to settle down in? Anywhere in particular catch your fancy (MNW favours Torrance, by the way…)
A:  That’s to be decided – just waiting for the snow to disappear but I am partial to the rural areas.

Q: What has your previous experience of Muskoka been? Have you cottaged here?
A: I have travelled through Muskoka all my life – fishing, camping and enjoying the outdoors. This was particularly true in my teenage years.

Q: You drive a big black truck – does that make you a dyed-in-the-wool truck guy or do you have no preference car vs. truck (the inquiring public here loves to know…)
A: My preference is to drive a vehicle that provides flexibility. A truck provides flexibility in weather and in terms of recreation. These are options that a car cannot offer.  However, the cost of operating a truck is not lost on me!

Q: I hear you like to fish. That works well in Muskoka. Any particular fish you’ll be after in our lakes? What about other interests?
A:  Yes, I do like to fish. Of course in the north I was exposed to fantastic walleye and trout fishing along with the occasional smallmouth bass. I am looking forward to more bass fishing along with perhaps some tasty perch! I also like to bird watch and photography is a developing hobby while hunting has been a lifelong passion.

Q: Finally, what has been your favourite moment being a new Muskokan so far?
A:  My first day here!

Township of Muskoka Lakes CAO Chris Wray can be reached at the Township office by phone or email. For Township contact information, please click here.

One Bracebridge shooting victim identified

Note: Police have not yet released names of both victims but the female victim has been identified as a student, first name Lindsay (correct).

Posted April 7, 935 am. While police have not released the names of the victims of Friday’s double shooting tragedy in Bracebridge, a Toronto Star report has identified the female victim as Lindsay [last name not officially confirmed], daughter of Alison Irons. Lindsay, a student at the Nipissing University Muskoka campus, was reportedly renting a room on Curling Club Road in Bracebridge. The Toronto Star report adds Lindsay’s mother, Alison Irons, has identified the man found dead at the scene as her daughter Lindsay’s ex-boyfriend. His name has not been released. To read more, click on this link to The Toronto Star story, “Bracebridge shooting deaths shock quiet neighbourhood”. The OPP investigation continues and anyone with information is asked to contact the OPP directly or through Crime Stoppers.

Editor note: As of time of posting, the full names of the victims have not been confirmed officially by police.

Bracebridge Shooting: OPP asking anyone with info to make contact

Posted April 6, 10.52am: The OPP in Bracebridge have issued an official release about the shooting tragedy that killed two people yesterday on Curling Club Road at Golf Course Road in Bracebridge.

The police report states OPP officers from the Bracebridge Detachment responded to a report of the sound of gun shots in the residential area of Bracebridge shortly before 4 pm yesterday (April 5). Upon arriving at the scene, two people were found in front of a home on Curling Club Road — they were suffering from life threatening injuries. One victim was declared dead at the scene and the second was taken to hospital. The victims were not identified.

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by members of the Muskoka Crime Unit (MCU),  OPP Forensic Identification Unit(FIU) and OPP Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). Police ask anyone who may have information to call the OPP at (705) 645-2211, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or give information online at www.crimestoppersdm.com

While citizens continue to speculate widely on who may be the victims and the reasons for the shooting, police have yet to release any such details. For more on this story, read the Bracebridge Examiner account of witness reports.

On the heels of the double shooting, the OPP raced to respond to another report of a second incident on 12 Mile Bay Road (three police cruisers were seen by sources travelling at high speeds across Hwy 118 around 5 pm). There had been reports of a shooting might be involved, but police later confirmed no shots were fired. One person faces charges of assault as a result of that investigation.

12 Mile Bay Incident did not involve gunshots, say police

Posted April 5, 9.56 pm: Moose FM reports police have confirmed no shots were fired in a alleged assault at 12 Mile Bay today. See the update here http://www.moosefm.com/cfbg/

Sources told MNW just before 5pm tonight that three police cars were racing to an incident somewhere past Port Carling (less than an hour after police reportedly arrived on the scene of a shooting in Bracebridge). A later report by Cottage Country News said there were conflicting reports of a shooting on 12 Mile Bay Road. An official police report has yet to be issued.