Sunday, May 19th 2019, 2:53 pm - High water levels continue to impact residences
For many of southern Ontario's cottage owners, the Victoria Day long weekend marks the start to the season; the "unofficial kickoff to summer." But for many with properties in Muskoka, Bracebridge, and other parts of the province impacted by catastrophic flooding this spring, the long weekend has taken on another meaning this year -- the start of the cleanup.
The video above shows a damaged cottage in Bracebridge, Ontario on May 18. Rising waters dislocated a tree at the corner of Dave Coon's cottage, which pulled the cottage over into the ground. The river's powerful current then eroded the shoreline, which is still being impacted by the high water levels.
While Bracebridge is no longer under a state of emergency and water levels across the region have generally receded to at least the high end of what's considered "normal", many venturing to their cottage properties are finding opening the cottage is a lot more difficult this year.
"We know we'll see a lot of people around this weekend, that it might be their first time really up and able to kind of deal with their seasonal properties," Bracebridge mayor Graydon Smith told Global News Friday.
Strong currents in the floodwaters caused significant erosion along shorelines. One of the most extreme cases left an entire cottage in the lake, as seen in the above video.
In Muskoka Lakes, all roads have reportedly reopened, however, mayor Phil Harding cautions those arriving that seasonal roads may not be as well-maintained as usual for the time of year since public works crews have been diverted to deal with flooding.
Even for those whose homes weren't damaged, there's a lot of work to do.
"There are about 250 sandbags that have got to be moved at 40 pounds apiece when they’re dry, and we’ve got to rebuild a couple of docks that floated away," Bracebridge area cottage owner Bill Jennings told CTV news. "And once we get that done we’ll see where we are inside."
The province has activated Disaster Recovery Assistance to help homeowners deal with the aftermath of the historic flooding. The Town of Bracebridge is also offering flood waste disposal vouchers at the town hall.