Not long after the Ontario government announced a 50% funding cut to regional conservation authorities, Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith found himself dealing with a flood serious enough that the cottage-country mayor declared a state of emergency. As waters continued to rise at the north end of the Muskoka River near Huntsville, late in the day on Tuesday, April 23, Smith activated Bracebridge’s emergency plan. The mayor held a press conference on April 24, telling reporters that the rain has caused considerable damage to rural parts of the area, washing out roads and culverts.
The town has made sandbags available to residents and emergency personnel are going door to door in the most flood-prone areas to advise residents to evacuate. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have also declared a flood warning for Parry Sound District, in effect until May 1.
Mayor Smith noted on his Twitter account that more rain is forecast in the next couple of days, quipping to the radio station that broadcast the weather report, “You should know I’ve shot messengers in the past.”
In 2013, the Bracebridge area experienced what was called the worst flooding in a century, “…and here we are six years later,” Smith said to a reporter with the Bracebridge Examiner. “Municipalities need to be planning for climate change.”