Statement from Minister Yakabuski on the Flooding in Muskoka
Yesterday John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, issued the following statement:
"I want to acknowledge that this is a very challenging time for many residents in Muskoka who are experiencing high water in their community and flooding in their homes. I want to assure residents that my ministry has taken action to mitigate flooding and will continue to do what we can to assist.
Since last December, we have been monitoring the snow pack in Muskoka. At that time, in anticipation of the snow melting and spring rains coming, we drew down lakes in Muskoka.
By February, the ministry had removed all logs in the south dam to allow maximum flow through the system. In fact, Lake Muskoka was drawn down to one of the lowest levels in recent years to account for the rain and warm weather expected through April.
Flood watches and warnings were issued in April to help residents prepare. And while ministry dams are not built to be flood control structures, we have taken every action to best prepare the community for the spring thaw. The fact is that Muskoka is a complex system with many factors impacting water levels, including physical geography, rainfall and temperatures.
Our government understands the environmental changes facing Muskoka, including increased developmental pressures, severe flooding and weather events. That's why in August of 2018 we provided $5 million to support the Muskoka Watershed Conservation and Management Initiative, led by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, to help us develop a more comprehensive approach to watershed management in Muskoka. We are committed to working with the local community to protect this vital area.
With flooding occurring across the province, this is a difficult time for many Ontarians. I would like to thank the dedicated staff on the ground working around the clock to help. This is the time for us to pull together and work together. Our government will ensure that Muskoka gets the help it needs. Together, we will get through this."