Happy Hallowe’en Muskoka

Happy Hallowe’en: Doin’ it bright in Muskoka Lakes

Pumpkins Aglow in Bala
Pumpkins Aglow in Bala

Posted October 31, 8pm: Years ago in Torrance, the Jestin house was the ‘pop’ house and your Editor’s house was the ‘home-made fudge’ house. Kids lined up to make sure they hit those two homes. Times have changed. The Jestin ladies have passed on (although their contributions to the History of Torrance are legendary). So has Loretta Fountain, the maker of the most mouth-watering fudge I’ve ever tasted. Of course, home-made treats are also ‘verboten’ in this day and age.

Halloween, Torrance, Muskoka, Bala, costumes
Pose for a pic? No way! It’s trick or treat time. Photographer gets swamped in kid avalanche

Today the Torrance tradition is to load almost everybody up on a well lit trailer while the parents walk along — and it’s so much fun. Asking these children to hold their spot on the trailer for a group picture was like trying to hold back an avalanche: they saw a pumpkin in the window and knew there were treats to be had — so what we captured was a blurry storm of costumes that not even a lot of rain could scare away.

Over in Bala, Annie’s Cafe & Deli did it up right, too. All the grownups were in full get ups as witches, skeletons, pumpkin heads and more. And there were lots of treats, talking crypts and orange lights in festive glow.

Halloween, Torrance, Muskoka, Bala, costumes
Annie’s Cafe & Deli in Bala

So from Muskoka News Watch to you, our dear readers, a ghoulish gift of photo frivolity.

Happy Hallowe’en, and thanks, always, for knocking on our door because you never know what trick or treat might be here to surprise you.

[easyrotator align=”left”]erc_20_1383262794[/easyrotator]

 

Update for Muskoka November 7: Flood Watch no longer in effect, but take care near wate

MNR downgrades Flood Watch to Water Conditions Statement and what that means

Posted 7pm: The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Parry Sound District continues to advise area residents of high water levels in local rivers and lakes.

Flood Watch, green energy, flood, Muskoka, Moon River, Bala, MNR, power, hydro power, high water, Bracebridge, Rosseau, Norah Fountain, Lake Joseph
Lake levels of Rosseau at Port Carling as of 7:45pm Nov. 7. Shows how the lake levels have changed from the time of the spring flood through summer to today

For the first time in days, the MNR advisory has been downgraded from a Flood Watch to a Water Conditions Statement.

Rivers and lakes will remain high over the weekend and into next week due to current watershed conditions. An additional 10mm of rain is in the forecast for Saturday which may delay the return to seasonally normal water levels.

Although flooding is not expected at this time, the Parry Sound District Ministry of Natural Resources continues to advise area residents to exercise caution around water bodies and low lying areas and secure personal property until high flows and levels subside.

This advisory is in effect until 5:00pm on Tuesday November 12, 2013.

WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT DEFINED: A Water Conditions Statement is a Water Safety advisory that unsafe lake, river and channel conditions exist. This is a step down from a Flood Watch where potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities.

Nov. 6: The Town of Bracebridge issues Flood Watch to advise its residents of high water

Posted November 6, 3:50pm: The MNR continues to issue Flood Watch updates on high

Flood Watch, green energy, flood, Muskoka, Moon River, Bala, MNR, power, hydro power, high water, Bracebridge, Wahta
Water flowing over boom below Ragged Rapids generating station Nov. 6, 3.40pm. Dam and plant fully open as water pours from the Muskoka Lakes township side into Wahta Mohawk Territory

water levels across Muskoka. In many areas we are experiencing steady rainfall. Watch your township web sites for updates (Township of Muskoka Lakes, Gravenhurst and Bracebridge all posting updates from MNR).

BRACEBRIDGE, ON Effective at 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 6, 2013, The Town of Bracebridge has been advised by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) of continued high water levels in area rivers and lakes. For more information, please click the website link below:

Website Link:
https://bracebridge.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentDisplay.aspx?ID=13323

Flood Watch Update for Muskoka November 5: Flood Watch (not Warning) continues with more rain expected

Posted Nov. 5, 12.15pm: It’s still a Flood Watch (not a Warning) but MNR says property owners in low lying areas of Muskoka watershed should be wary as we could get rain of up to 35mm over next two days. Please read the posts below to understand the difference in terminology between ‘watch’ and ‘warning’ as it’s easy to become unduly alarmed.

A Flood Watch is issued so that property owners who live in low-lying river and lake areas can be aware they may likely experience the impact of higher than usual water levels due to significant rain and the higher water moving through the Muskoka watershed system.

What should you do in that case? Use common sense. If you are in a low-lying area and you’ve gotten soggy in the past, you’ll want to take action if you haven’t already dealt with docks and other items that may be affected by high water. 

Flood, Lake Muskoka, Beaumaris, Moon River
Then and Now: Comparing spring Flood levels to today’s water levels on Lake Muskoka

To put the ongoing Flood Watch in perspective…Compare how high the water levels were during the spring flood event. This graph at left  shows how high the water was on Lake Muskoka on April 29th (primary water level at 10.2m versus what it is today: about 9.6 as of 1pm). Further downstream, the MNR says water coming into Moon River was less than 200 cubic metres per second (cms) on Friday. Here’s the explanation of what that means from the MNR’s Steve Taylor:

“Significant flooding in the Bala Reach, Moon River impacting values such as built infrastructure and/or residences typically occurs when inflows from Lake Muskoka approach 280 cubic meters/second (cms). As of last Friday, inflows were less than 200 cms,” says Taylor.

Inflows to Bala Reach will incrementally increase as Lake Muskoka water levels rise over the next few days. Rain is forecasted for this week (i.e. Wednesday) and the accuracy of a forecast as to the amount and duration increases the closer the forecast is to a rainfall event,” he says.

Keep watching for updates from the MNR here on Muskoka News Watch. Calls to our office suggest people have been concerned by comments elsewhere online that have caused some alarm. One person called asking if they should return to their cottage after having closed up on Thanksgiving. The numbers show we are nowhere near the situation caused by the spring flood event. It’s important to remember the Moon River does have the naturally created issue of the Moon Chutes which impede water flow and have been reported to literally cause a back up of water that can increase the pressure on river residents who have experienced problems from high water levels in the past.

Want to check water level on your lake in real time? Click Here for Muskoka Water Web data.

Update Friday, November 1: Flood Watch still in effect as of 6pm November 1, Muskoka Lakes Township offering sandbags for those in need

Nov. 1 Update: The Flood Watch issued Thursday, October 31 by the Ministry of Natural Resources remains in effect.

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY, NIMBYS, protestors, Bracebridge Generation, Muskoka, waterpower, Moon River, Flood
Torrance dock on Lake Muskoka, Nov. 1, 6pm. Grey skies are supposed to clear up this weekend.

For people in low-lying areas who are worried about the impact of high water levels on their properties, the Township of Muskoka Lakes is providing sand bags at the Glen Orchard Public Works Yard between 8AM and 4PM this weekend (November 2 and 3rd). The yard is in Glen Orchard at 3951 Muskoka Road 169. The Township also reported today that Beatrice Townline Road is closed at #1738 (better known as Cook’s Swamp).

Want to check water level on your lake? Click Here for Muskoka Water Web data.

Posted Oct. 31, 12.20pm: The MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES Parry Sound District is advising area residents that high water levels in area rivers and lakes currently being experienced could reach flood levels in vulnerable flood-prone locations with precipitation forecasts of 50-60mm over the next three days.     
 
The long range forecast is calling for additional rainfall accumulation of 30+mm into next week.

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY, NIMBYS, protestors, Bracebridge Generation, Muskoka, waterpower
Looking up at Moon Chutes from Ragged Rapids Oct 29. You can see water rushing through as much as possible. Chutes impede water flow from Moon River and docks above Chutes have been under water for days now. Moon River residents and others in low-lying areas of Muskoka Watershed are being advised to take steps to protect against high water levels if they haven’t already.


The Parry Sound District Ministry of Natural Resources is advising area residents to take action to protect infrastructure in flood prone areas and continue to exercise caution around water bodies and any low lying areas.

This message will be in effect until 5:00pm on Tuesday November 5, 2013 and will be updated before then should conditions change.

For more information about weather and flooding risks, and advice on what to do in the event of a flood, go to: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Water/index.html <http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Water/index.html>

Terminology: Notification Levels
** FLOOD WATCH: potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities
WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT: unsafe lake, river and channel conditions exist.
FLOOD WARNING: flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities.

RELATED ARTICLES:

About Muskoka News Watch: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you appreciate us keeping you informed, consider tossing a few dollars our way via the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page. Or tell advertisers that want to target Muskoka that Muskoka News Watch regularly attracts over 10,000 visitors each month.

JW Marriott in Minett makes Condé Nast top resort list

JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa voted 6th best; only resort east of Alberta & B.C. to make the grade with Condé Nast Traveller readers

Muskoka Lakes, Resort, Conde Nast Traveller, Top 15 resorts, Minett, The Rosseau
JW Marriott in Minett takes 6th spot on Condé Nast list

Posted Oct. 20, 8:30am: Readers of Condé Nast Traveller have placed Canada’s first JW Marriott Resort and Spa in Minett in the Number Six spot on the magazine’s “Top 15 Resorts in Canada” list, along with 14 iconic resorts in Alberta and British Columbia.

“This prestigious award means a great deal to our entire team,” says General Manager Tony Tamburro. “It is fantastic recognition of our commitment to excellence.”

“Condé Nast Traveler is the “go-to” publication for luxury travel,” he adds.  “The Readers’ Choice award is particularly meaningful because we know that our loyal guests voted for The Rosseau. I am very proud of the intuitive service our associates provide and the way they love to give our guests a truly unique Muskoka experience.”

The JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort and Spa was also the only resort in eastern Canada to make the top 15. It placed number six behind Wickanninish Inn in Tofino; Four Seasons Resort Whistler; Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise; Moraine Lake Lodge Banff and Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

About Muskoka News Watch: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you appreciate us keeping you informed, consider tossing a few dollars our way via the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page. Or tell advertisers that want to target Muskoka that Muskoka News Watch regularly attracts over 10,000 visitors each month.

MNR continues to warn of unsafe conditions on our lakes, rivers and channels

Water levels are unseasonably high and more rain is on the way

Posted Oct. 28, 9pm: Water levels remain high in Parry Sound-Muskoka due to higher than usual rainfall in October, and it looks like we’re in for more on the last day of the month, on Hallowe’en. Thursday’s forecast from Environment Canada is calling for a 70% chance of showers.

On Friday, the Ministry of Natural Resources issued a Watershed Conditions Statement regarding water safety around our lakes and rivers. Shortly afterward, some local websites began declaring a Flood Warning, but the MNR says that terminology is incorrect.

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY, NIMBYS, protestors, Bracebridge Generation, Muskoka, waterpower, Moon River, Flood
Downstream at Ragged Rapids Moon River wide open: today’s pic shows how low water is there (see water line?): Moon Chutes plugging water flow before reaching this point. Submitted Photo.

As of Monday, October 28, the MNR confirmed to Muskoka News Watch that there is no flood watch or flood warning in effect. If required due to changing conditions, officials say the Watershed Conditions Statement sent to media, municipalities, First Nations, watershed partners and others on Friday will be reissued as a higher level message, such as a Flood Watch.

The MNR issues regular updates and it helps to know the ministry’s terminology as follows:

WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT: unsafe lake, river and channel conditions exist
FLOOD WATCH: potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities
FLOOD WARNING: flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities

MNR official don’t anticipate that flooding will occur, but they are continuing to monitor watershed conditions and will keep operating dams accordingly. Yesterday (Sunday) morning, for example, MNR crews were on site at the Bala Falls dam allowing more water

High water on Lake Muskoka = High water tumbling into Moon River at Bala Falls. Taken October 29, 5:30pm.
High water on Lake Muskoka = High water tumbling into Moon River at Bala Falls. Taken October 29, 5:30pm.

to flow from Lake Muskoka into Moon River. Both bodies of water are higher than usual for this time of year and some docks on the river are covered or partially submerged by the high water.

For those asking why the levels are so high and looking for the official status of conditions, here is the full text of the Watershed Conditions Statement issued Friday, October 25 by the MNR:

The MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES Parry Sound District is advising area residents to exercise caution when around local rivers and lakes and closely supervise children and pets.

Significant rainfall received throughout the month of October has increased river flows and lake levels above those normally seen or expected for this time of year.

Additional rainfall is expected tomorrow with rainfall forecasted for next week, which may further increase flows and levels within local water bodies.

For more information about weather and public safety around water, go to: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Water/index.html

Messaging Terminology:

** WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT: unsafe lake, river and channel conditions exist.
FLOOD WATCH: potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities
FLOOD WARNING: flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities.

Related Articles:

About Muskoka News Watch: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you appreciate us keeping you informed, consider tossing a few dollars our way via the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page. Or tell advertisers that want to target Muskoka that Muskoka News Watch regularly attracts over 10,000 visitors each month.

Water power industry honours Bracebridge Generation and Bala hydro project manager

Bracebridge Generation wins Stewardship Award; Karen McGhee earns Dodokin Award for outstanding contribution to waterpower advancement

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY, NIMBYS, protestors, Bracebridge Generation, Muskoka, waterpower, Save the Bala Falls
Bracebridge Generation wins Stewardship award at Ontario Waterpower Annual meeting October 21, 2013. From left to right: Vince Kulchycki, Paul Norris (OWA), Chris Litschko, and Bryan Ingram

Posted October 21, 2013, 9:00 pm: There were three awards given out last night by the Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) and people presently involved in ongoing Muskoka hydro projects took home two of the three.

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY, NIMBYS, protestors, Bracebridge Generation, Muskoka, waterpower
Bryan Ingram, Chris Litschko and Vince Kulchycki holding Sustainability award from Ontario Waterpower Association

At the Power of Water Conference 2013 in Niagara-on-the-Lake last night, Bracebridge Generation, a subsidiary of Lakeland Holding, was recognized for industry leadership with the OWA’s Stewardship Award. The Stewardship and Innovation awards are new awards from the OWA this year to recognize exemplary accomplishments of organizations, while the Ronald R. Dodokin Award. established in 2005, honours individuals who make an outstanding contribution to the waterpower industry.

Bracebridge Generation praised as sustainability leader

Chris Litschko, Chief Executive Officer of Lakeland Holding Ltd., accepted the award on behalf of Bracebridge Generation. He was there with Bryan Ingram, Operations Manager for Bracebridge Generation, and Vince Kulchycki, Chief Operating Officer of Lakeland Holding.

“I’m incredibly proud to accept this on behalf of our Company, Directors, Shareholders and the many parties who have helped us grow our green electricity generation,” said Litschko. “This award has to be shared equally with our communities who provided advice and volunteered on committees to ensure our plants fit in well with Muskoka’s rich history of generating green electricity.”

In presenting the award, OWA President Paul Norris commented that “Chris and his entire team exemplify the leadership qualities this recognition was designed for. Bracebridge Generation has been, and continues to be, a leader in environmentally  sustainable economic development, raising the bar for us all.”

Specifically, the Sustainability award is given to an organization that demonstrates leadership in sustainable waterpower development; preservation of the environment through various environmental initiatives; corporate citizenship and creating positive dialogue with local communities; safeguarding public health and safety and/or has made significant contributions to build capacity among First Nations communities through co-development. Over the past eight years, Bracebridge Generation has invested more than $25 million to grow its generation production. Upgrades completed at Wilson’s Falls and Bracebridge Falls have also improved waterfall aesthetics, public accessibility and enjoyment, and increased walleye spawning beds while maintaining the historically significant architecture of the facility, said Norris.

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY, NIMBYS, protestors, Bracebridge Generation, Karen McGhee, MKE, Muskoka, waterpower, Save the Bala Falls
Engineer Karen McGhee wins Dodokin Award for Outstanding Contribution of an Individual to Waterpower Advancement October 21, 2013

McGhee first woman to win esteemed Dodokin Award

Engineer Karen McGhee, who is also the project manager for the North Bala Small Hydro project, received the Ronald R. Dodokin award, becoming the first woman in the Ontario waterpower industry to be given such an honour.  The “Dodokin” recognizes the outstanding contribution of an individual to the advancement of waterpower. Ronald. R. Dodokin was a driving force in Ontario’s waterpower industry in 1980s and 1990s, defining what the OWA terms “the entrepreneurial spirit, commitment and passion that typifies waterpower proponents.”

Describing McGhee as one of the hardest working members of the waterpower community, OWA Board Director Paul Young said: “Anyone who knows Karen will know she is the opposite of a quitter, and through her tenacity she is able to make projects work that to others would seem impossible – a case in point is Bala Falls. Many of us know about the hurdles this project went through to get approved, and without her passion and drive, I believe it would be fair to say this project would not succeed.”

“I am truly humbled by this award,” responded McGhee, adding, “It’s such an honour to be included on a list of such highly respected previous recipients.” Previous honourees dating back to 2005 have included David Carter, Murray McFarlane, Clary Gatien, Bill Backlund, Bob Yap, Rob Steele, Harvey Walsh and Jack Cockwell.

McGhee continued by paying homage to her industry and colleagues. She explained why she loves the industry, from the diversity of equipment — an engineer’s dream; to the people working in such varied areas; and to the adventures she’s experienced.

“This industry has taken me down moose-filled roads in the interior of Newfoundland and along the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec where every small town seems to have a water power plant,” said McGhee. “It’s taken me up to Deer Lake in northwestern Ontario where I saw the Northern Lights for the first time, and to B.C., where last winter I spent the day in helicopters flying coastal mountains to check out the status of avalanches. All I can say is there can’t be many other industries or even tourists that see the corners of Canada the way waterpower people do.”

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY, NIMBYS, protestors, Bracebridge, Bracebridge Generation, Waterpower, Ontario Waterpower Association
Looking over Wilson’s Falls at Grand Re-opening to showcase waterpower upgrades in Bracebridge, May 3, 2013

A third award — the Innovation Award —  recognized organizations that have shown leadership in innovation through the development of important advancements which will result in benefits to the waterpower industry. The organization must develop and successfully implement an innovation which represents a valuable advancement in the development, operation or refurbishment of waterpower facilities; and one that can demonstrate how the innovation will benefit the proponent and strengthen the waterpower industry in Ontario if adopted by others. The InnovaGreen energy, Bracebridge, Muskokation award was won by Hatch Energy for development of a dam safety risk assessment tool. Rick Donnelly, Director of Renewable Power for Hatch accepted the award on behalf of the company. He said the risk assessment tool resulted from three years of engineering teamwork involving Hatch, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Power Generation. Hatch was also involved in the preliminary engineering and the environmental assessment of the North Bala Falls project in Muskoka Lakes.

Related Articles:

Cottage Country Now, May 9: Veil comes off $21-million water generation upgrades

Cottage Country Now, Oct. 23: Swift River Tackles Bala Falls Safety Concerns

About Muskoka News Watch: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you appreciate us keeping you informed, consider tossing a few dollars our way via the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page.

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY, NIMBYS, protestors, Bracebridge Generation, Muskoka, waterpower
Don Currie points out features in the historic Bracebridge Falls power plant at grand re-opening celebrations of facility upgrades on May 3, 2013

Or tell advertisers that want to target Muskoka that Muskoka News Watch regularly attracts over 10,000 visitors each month.

Mississauga man drowns in Ada Lake in Glen Orchard

22-year-old drowning victim identified as Kyle Corbett of Mississauga

Posted Oct; 20L 12:30 pm: Police from Bracebridge OPP are investigating the drowning of a 22-year-old man in Glen Orchard in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. The man has been identified as Kyle Corbett of Mississauga.

Pollce responded to a call about a drowning at Ada Lake near Young’s Road at 4:40pm yesterday.  The male had been in a paddle boat and friends later found him unresponsive in the water. Police say he had told friends he was going out fishing.

The Bracebridge OPP is reminding everyone to practice safe boating and the importance of wearing a personal floatation device (PFD). Most drownings happen unexpectedly when small boats capsize or someone falls overboard. The PFD left behind is of no use, especially in cold water.

Bala Falls Update: Rally against hydro plant Saturday

100+ people pose to send message against hydro plant to Premier 

Posted Oct. 16: Over 100 people gathered on the rocks on the Margaret Burgess Park side of the North Bala Falls for a group photo to show their opposition to a proposed hydro plant on Thanksgiving Saturday, October 12. The photo pays homage to a similar photo of the protestors representing the Save the Bala Falls (STBF) group posed for five years earlier. The Crown land on the opposite shore of the falls was released for hydro development 10 years ago, and the Ontario government call for expressions of interest in early 2004 attracted seven (Correction : SIX)  would-be hydro developers (Swift River Energy Limited was revealed as the proposed project developer in September 2005).

green energy, Bala, NIMBYs, hydro plant, Save the Bala Falls
Rally gets under way 1:30pm: Protestors make their way from the throng in the park on to the rocks for a group protest photo. See Moose FM for a photo of the assembled group on Saturday.

This year, the objective of the Thanksgiving rally, quoting flyers around Bala, was to show that many people remain “united in opposition” to the plant. While the final group photo (see Moose FM) appears to show fewer people than were there for the first rally photo on the same day in 2008, there were several people wandering in and out of Margaret Burgess Park. Those who dropped in heard concerns from anti-hydro plant supporters about the planned facility, and many signed a giant protest postcard being sent to Premier Wynne.

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY
Over 100 protestors visited the stop the hour-long hydro plant rally Saturday in Bala.

Protestors also stationed themselves at each end of the bridge with Township of Muskoka Lakes Mayor Alice Murphy among them.  Others waved placards from the bridge. One man stepped into the traffic, held a sign above his head, and yelled “Stop Bala Falls.” For more on Saturday’s rally, click here to read the Bracebridge Examiner article (also listed below). To view the group photo taken this Saturday, click here for Moose FM.

 

green energy, hydro, natural resources, Swift River, Bala, Muskoka, Save the Bala Falls, Bala, NIMBY, NIMBYS, protestors
SAME DAY FIVE YEARS AGO: 2008 Thanksgiving protest rally (shown here) attracted enthusiastic crowds. Protestors gathered again this Thanksgiving to prove opposition still strong. To view the group shot from this year’s rally, visit Moose FM.

Related Articles

Cottage Country Now, Oct. 23: Swift River Tackles Bala Falls Safety Concerns

Toronto Star: Bala Falls roils Muskoka Lakes and Oakville Mayors

Bala Falls development is still a hot topic
CottageCountryNow.ca
BALA – More than 100 people rallied on the shore of Margaret Burgess Park this weekend hoping to save the Bala Falls from development. “This is five years in …Read more.

Moose FM: Bala Falls Rallyers Send Message

Abandoned boat found on Lake Muskoka may have been set adrift, say OPP

Boat found leaking fuel, partially underwater near Baxter Island

Posted Oct. 9: 9:30am: Members of the Bracebridge Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) marine unit are currently investigating a recovered partially submerged boat found near Baxter Island on Lake Muskoka. Constable Jessica Drake says no owner has been identified yet.

On October 8, 2013, the OPP headed out on the water after receiving a call concerning an  abandoned boat floating around Lake Muskoka. Police located the vessel which appeared to have been set adrift, and was heavily damaged. The OPP was successful safely towing the damaged boat to shore.

Fuel was seen leaking out from a gas line on the boat and police note Pride of Muskoka Marine was very helpful in volunteering their services to get the boat out of the water.

The investigation is ongoing at this time. No description of the boat was provided.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the OPP at (705) 645-2211 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

OPP announce 15th Annual Fundraising Gala and Auction Nov. 2

Crime Stoppers of Simcoe-Dufferin-Muskoka is looking for the support of the communities it serves as it approaches the date for its 15th Annual Fundraising Gala and Auction, which is being held at Casino Rama on Saturday, November 2, 2013.

Crime Stoppers is an independent, non-profit charitable organization that works with the Police, Media and Community to solve crime through the collection of anonymous tips from the public. These tips have helped local police to arrest 3,842 people, clear 6,075 cases and seize over $56 million in illicit drugs during the rich 26-year history of the program.

Fundraising events, such as the Gala, are important for the sustainability of the program because it does not receive financial support from any level of government. Instead, Crime Stoppers operations are financed by fundraising initiatives with the help of volunteers who organize events and promote Crime Stoppers in their respective communities.

EVENT DETAILS

  • Saturday, November 2nd at the Silvernightingale Ballroom at Casino Rama
  • Individual tickets are $125.00 and tables of 10 are available for $1,000.  Sponsorship opportunities are still available for local businesses.  For more information about tickets and sponsorships please call the Program Administrator at 705-726-2237.

Remember – Crime Doesn’t Pay – But Crime Stoppers Does!

For more info:
Contact:  Provincial Constable Jonathan Beckett
Crime Stoppers of Simcoe Dufferin Muskoka
Phone:    (705) 726-6484

It WAS a 100-year event: MNR shares internal flood review

 After the flood: more science needed, says MNR

Posted Oct. 8, 4:45pm: During the April flood, Muskokans and scientists alike were pondering if what we were experiencing could be considered a “100-year event.” It turns out the answer is yes, according to an internal review by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) of the flood situation that has left some residents in Muskoka still hurting from the impact on their properties (See previous MNW article, Bracebridge hopes to raise roof for flooded family ).

Bracebridge, flood, hydro
Pictorial history of worst floods in Muskoka’s history hangs in the historic portion of Bracebridge Falls hydro plant

Note: A 100-year flood is an event that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. That doesn’t mean it happens just once every 100 years, as some people believe. Instead, it’s defined as an event that has a 1 percent chance (or 1-in-100) of occurring in any given year. According to researchers at MIT and Princeton University (as reported by the Phys.org science news service), such storms could start happening far more frequently, possibly every three to 20 years.

In a meeting with the Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) for the Muskoka River Water Management Plan (MRWMP) in late September, MNR officials reported highlights of the internal review the ministry conducted – and shared what they learned to change they way they might prepare for such an event in future.

Patricia Arney, SAC vice-chair, says three items stood out for her from the presentation by Engineering Technologist Dave Macpherson:

Muskoka flood, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Big East River, Muskoka River, Black River
Kelvin Grove Park, Bracebridge, April 20, 930am

1)    Better scientific data might enable more accurate prediction: even if the lakes had been drawn down further and faster, given the confluence of circumstances, the flooding would not have been prevented

2)    The MNR met all targets according to the Water Management Plan and the ministry reaffirmed that the plan is NOT a flood control plan

3)    Yes, in all of the rivers and lakes (except for the upper lakes of Kawagama Lake and Lake of Bays), it was a 100-hundred-year flood event.

“They discussed what additional science they will need to manage this type of event effectively,” says Arney, “including more science on snow density. The snow was so dense this year that you could walk in the bush easily as it was so hard-packed. And of course, there was the other factor – the rain on top of the hard-pack that ran right off.” Another contributing factor was the fact that the north and south branches of the Muskoka River peaked at the same time so the worst of the flood came in all at once to Lake Muskoka.

“The meeting laid to rest some of the questions about the plan’s [MWRMP’s] role in April’s flood,” she continues. “I was also happy to hear that although MNR is going through a restructuring, the water management function will stay in Bracebridge – and that a hydrologist is being hired.”

As well as Arney, meeting attendees included Rebecca Willison, Tim Clarke and Don Currie of the MWRMP SAC (Chair Ben Boivin sent regrets). On hand from the MNR were Dave McPherson, Acting District Manager Dan Duggan, and Acting Area Supervisor Anne Collins.

While Duggan says the internal review revealed there was little that could have been done differently to change the outcome of the April flood event, the ministry does “expect this type of event to occur again, we just don’t know when.” He adds they want to take progressive steps to improve predictability to allow as much lead-time as possible – and they’re also interested in working with municipalities to improve communications and promote “a better understanding of the technical side of the numbers and what they mean to their communities.”

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

MNR restructuring impact

Duggan confirms the MNR is planning to hire a hydrologist for the Peterborough office to assist in overall water management for the region, including Muskoka and Parry Sound, but says that new hire is not related to the flood review; rather, it’s due to overall staff changes across the ministry that were announced in August. He further clarifies how job roles will be changing in Bracebridge and Parry Sound as a result of restructuring:

“We are hiring four specialists – one Integrated Resource Specialist and one Senior Fish and Wildlife Technician in Parry Sound, and two Integrated Resource Specialists in Bracebridge (with both of those integrated resource specialists involved in water management),” says Duggan.

Bracebridge will be “the boots on the ground team,” he says for water management and other resource matters, while the overall planning function for the local MNR presence will be in Parry Sound.

Meantime, the Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) is proceeding with its own review of the impact of the flood event on the lakes. MLA communications chair Mike Langdon says it’s a two-phase study. In the first phase, data secured through a freedom of information

Torrance Dock underwater, barriers up April 30
Torrance Dock on Lake Muskoka underwater April 30

request is being collected and analyzed. He says if the data collected is sufficient, the study will move on to the second phase with a more thorough analysis that would allow the Association to make specific recommendations for the future.

“We’re in the process of asking the MNR a few clarifying questions,” says Langdon, “and we expect we’ll be able to release the study results and associated recommendations this fall.”

Bracebridge lawyer Michael Anne MacDonald is also waiting on more information as she works toward a potential class action claim against the MNR.

“I expect to file as soon as the necessary research has been completed,” says MacDonald, referring to the MLA review and other pending studies. “I have 284 potential claims on North Branch and South Branch of the Muskoka River, Lake Muskoka, Mirror Lake and the Indian River below the Port Carling dam.. MacDonald contends there “is an abundance of information respecting the failure of the MNR to properly regulate the regulated waterways in Muskoka.”

Related MNW articles: 

Related Moose FM Article, May 22: Local Lawyer filing class action against MNR over flood damage

About Muskoka News Watch: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you appreciate us keeping you informed, consider tossing a few dollars our way via the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page. Or tell advertisers that want to target Muskoka that Muskoka News Watch regularly attracts over 10,000 visitors each month.

 

Moose Deer Point Health Centre celebrates official opening

Moose Deer Point Health Centre Nursing Station now open for patients

Posted Oct. 7, 5:30pm: The Moose Deer Point Health Centre Nursing Station celebrated its opening officially today. The Health Centre at 1025 C Mitawbik Road, Moose Deer Point First Nation, is the result of a collaboration between Moose Deer Point First Nation Band Chief and Council, Ontario’s Ministry of Health, and the West Parry Sound Health Centre.

Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement and MP Rob Clarke, Chair of the Government of Canada’s Aboriginal Caucus, were two of the dignitaries on hand this afternoon. Clement congratulated the new health centre and its collaborative partners on opening a new location and expanding services to the community, saying:

Moose Deer Point Nursing Station, Canadian Health, aboriginal, Muskoka, Parry Sound, Tony Clement, health centre, nurse practitioner
Moose Deer Point Nursing Station

“The Nursing Station is a shining model of success, as rural communities find creative ways to improve primary care. The additional facilities being opened here today will only further improve access to quality medical care for people in this region, including First Nations community members, and the many tourists and cottagers who come here year after year.”

The new location offers two examination rooms, one for Dr. Laurie Wells, and one for the nurse practitioner, Connie Foster. A counselling and visiting room has been added, where Community Nurse Susan Siwik will provide First Nation healing approaches. There is also an area planned to accommodate Ontario Telemedicine Network consultations.

“Today we are strengthening the circle of care with our collaborative partners,” said Health Centre Nurse Practitioner Connie Foster. “With the additional facilities we are opening today, we are advancing our goals of health promotion, disease prevention, screening and collaborative management of chronic disease.”

Nursing stations currently operate in Rosseau, Moose Deer Point, Pointe-au-Baril, Whitestone, Argyle, Britt and Wahta Mohawk Territory. Practices focus on prevention and wellness management. Each nurse practitioner collaborates with a family doctor according to a negotiated agreement.

How to get to Moose Deer Point Health Centre: Off Highway 400, exit at 185 Twelve Mile Bay Road and turn right and keep right at the forks. The centre is just past the forks on Mitawbik Road. For information, call 705-375-9900.

About Muskoka News Watch: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you appreciate us keeping you informed, consider tossing a few dollars our way via the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page. Or tell advertisers that want to target Muskoka that Muskoka News Watch regularly attracts over 10,000 visitors each month.