By Sue Tiffin and Chad Ingram
Published May 9 2017
Heavy rains over the weekend led to flooding throughout Haliburton County and put many of the reservoir and flow-through lakes of the Trent Severn Waterway at or above capacity. Minden Hills was hit hardest with flood waters nearing the same levels as those in 2013. A state of emergency was called on May 6. Township staff and dozens of volunteers filled close to 40000 sandbags over the weekend. Water levels rose 18 cm from May 6 to May 7.
“We’re going to live with this for a couple of weeks” said Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin. He expected the waters to crest in the early part of this week.
“The bottom line is that TSW will continue to move water around to reduce pressure from the highest lakes and put what it can through Minden without making Minden worse” wrote Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt in a water levels update on May 8.
A number of roads in Minden Hills were closed. Bobcaygeon Road bridge was closed on May 8 after accumulated water started to flow over the road.
Invergordon Anson Street and Orde Street where portions of road were completely underwater were closed. Water Street next to the river was also closed except to local traffic. Portions of Soyers Lake Milburn and Devil’s Lake Road were closed but were reopened by May 4. A portion of Bobcaygeon Road north of Minden which experienced a culvert washout that left a gaping crevice in the road remained closed at press time.
In the village of Haliburton a portion of Bayshore Road between Highway 118 and the Haliburton Highlands Museum was washed away a stream of water gushing through it.
The Municipality of Dysart et al opened gates at Glebe Park allowing residents to access their homes by travelling through the park and property of Fleming College’s Haliburton School of Art and Design.
“Not an ideal situation but with some care taken we’ll get through OK and the school has been very responsive and helpful” Dysart et al chief administrative officer Tamara Wilbee told the paper.
Bayshore is the only Dysart-owned road that has been closed due to flooding so far.
“Just drive slowly and watch for shoulder washouts until the crews can get everything fixed up” said Wilbee.
Several thoroughfares in Algonquin Highlands including but not limited to Big Hawk Lake Dawson Halls Lake Old Mill and Braeloch roads were affected by floodwaters. Elvin Johnson Park and the Little Hawk Lake Landing were closed due to high water levels.
The Hawk Lake log chute was damaged due to high water flows. Contau Lake Road was closed at Irondale Road in Highlands East due to water over the road. Water levels in the area were high but starting to recede at press time.
At the upper tier of Haliburton County the municipality experienced some problems and shoulder washouts on County Roads 14 11 3 21 and 2. So far no Haliburton County roads have required closing.
“All things considered we are in good shape” county roads director Craig Douglas told the paper. An interactive road closure map was recently launched by the county for drivers to get up-to-date information on their computers and smartphones. It is available alongside other updates on municipal websites.
Meanwhile Parks Canada is at work moving water through the feeder system for the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Reservoir lakes north of Minden have reached or exceeded capacity levels as water is retained to prevent severe flooding in the village. On Wednesday May 3 logs were pulled from dams at Hawk and Kushog lakes in Algonquin Highlands and at Kennisis Percy Oblong Redstone and Eagle in Dysart et al.
On May 4 outflows were increased from Horseshoe Lake into the Gull River where water levels through the village of Minden continued to rise. The Gull gobbled up portions of Minden Riverwalk and reached some homes along Invergordon Avenue over the weekend.
Sandbags are available for Minden Hills residents at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena at 55 Parkside Dr. at the Furnace Falls Park entrance on County Road 503 at the Lady of Fatima Catholic Church at 7 Bobcaygeon Rd. and at the public works yard at 4564 County Road 121 near Kinmount.
In Haliburton sand bags are available at the municipal yards at 13323 Hwy. 118. In Algonquin Highlands sandbags are located at the township public works yards at 1035 North Shore Road and in Dorset at 1850 Kawagama Lake Road. These are self-serve resources and residents are reminded to bring their own shovels and take only what they need.
Local politicians and municipal staff continue to have daily conference calls with officials from the MNRF and TSW as a flood warning remains in effect for Haliburton County.