Rising slows, Gull expected to crest mid-week
By Chad Ingram
Published May 8, 2017
While the Gull River continues to flood Minden, on the morning of Monday, May 8, the rate at which the river is rising was beginning to ease up, and Minden Hills Reeve and Haliburton County Warden Brent Devolin expected the Gull to crest within a few days.
“The river has not crested yet,” Devolin said during a press conference outside the township office. “It would be expected that with what we see and what we know, with the weather forecast, that's going to be mid-week.”
After a weekend of rain and 12 consecutive days of rising levels on the river, precipitation had stopped Monday morning, with light flurries in the air over the village.
“The good bit of news, after days of 15 and 20 and 50 centimetre rises, that the overnight rise was only two centimetres,” Devolin said. “That's the beginning of the tide turning for us.”
As of noon on Monday, levels on the Gull River through Minden were 15 centimetres lower that they were at the peak of the 2013 flood.
Devolin declared a state of emergency in Minden Hills on Saturday, May 6. A state of emergency, which will allow the municipality access to provincial resources, was also declared during the 2013 flood.
“But water levels are very high, at record highs, above and below us, at all reservoir lakes,” Devolin said.
Water from nearly 30 lakes that are part of the feeder system for the Trent Severn Waterway flows through the Gull River through the heart of Minden before continuing through the system.
During the weekend, heavy flows north of Minden damaged the log chute at Big Hawk Lake and Algonquin Highlands township closed the municipal wharf at Little Hawk and Elvin Johnson Park at Halls Lake due to the high water levels.
Devolin has been in contact with Municipal Affairs minister Bill Mauro, as well as Premier Kathleen Wynne and indicated that delegations at the next Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference would involve discussions about funding for flood mitigation infrastructure in Minden.
“We have three levels of government, we all have something in this,” said Devolin, who was hoping to also make contact with the Prime Minister.
Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP Jamie Schmale was in Minden on Monday surveying the floodwaters.
Devolin said the new dam at Kennisis Lake, which the feds constructed as part of $40 million worth of dam replacements and repairs taking place within the county, has been helpful.
“The Kennisis Lake dam that went operational last February, has held back a metre of water that we didn't have before,” he said.
Devolin told the paper there have also been discussions about the dams that will eventually replace the two at the bottom of Gull Lake, south of Minden.
“The structures that go in there are going to allow more outflow than the present ones do,” he said.
As of noon Monday, numerous roads in the village of Minden remained closed to traffic, along with the main street bridge that traverses the river. The township remains in state of emergency, a flood warning from the MNRF remains in effect and Devolin said that residents could expect water levels to remain high for a couple of weeks yet.
Minden Hills community services director Mark Coleman asked any residents on the system who are able to do so to secure their docks and outdoor furniture, as debris is starting to come down the river.
Devolin cautioned that residents should not put themselves in harm's way when attending to their properties.