2019 Flood Q&A

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aerial image overlooking Town of Huntsville homes, businesses, water channel and more.


During April 2019 the Town of Huntsville and surrounding areas experienced exponentially high-water levels that resulted in localized flooding. To facilitate a deeper understanding of the flood and answer any questions that you may have, the Town of Huntsville has opened up a question and answer format below.

Upcoming Special Council Meeting and Public Information Session

There are two upcoming public meetings scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, 2019:


During April 2019 the Town of Huntsville and surrounding areas experienced exponentially high-water levels that resulted in localized flooding. To facilitate a deeper understanding of the flood and answer any questions that you may have, the Town of Huntsville has opened up a question and answer format below.

Upcoming Special Council Meeting and Public Information Session

There are two upcoming public meetings scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, 2019:

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
  • I wonder about culvert maintenance and inspections. Is this something that the town does?

    Nancy Long asked 12 days ago

    Hi Nancy, yes the Town inspects and cleans all catch basins and known culverts which cause issues. In most cases, we will see or receive calls about drainage issues at the road side which will lead to culvert maintenance or replacement as needed. Also as part of any major road re-surfacing project, the drainage and culverts are checked, cleaned and/or replaced as needed. The Town is responsible for over 7000 culverts which would make it very time consuming to inspect each of these yearly, so if there is a particular area of concern, please submit our Road Inquiry Form to create a service request for our team. Thank you.

  • It seemed like in previous years, as the risk of high water happened, the public in those areas were warned. This year, the worst year, we had no warning. No one was talking about it on the radio. No one came door to door to give us a heads up. There was even the rather insulting comment in the Doppler that suggested 'the people living in these areas deal with this every year and can fend for themselves' which isn't only inaccurate, but incredibly disappointing and dismissive of people in our community. There was very little spoken of, as well, about community support that was available during the flood event to those of us who were displaced. I feel like this was poorly done.

    tonicwater79 asked 14 days ago

    Thank you for providing your comments. In order to address your concerns, there are some more details we will need such as the specifics on where you are located. Please connect with us directly by sending an email

  • What is the Town and Province doing to mitigate future flooding? Should I be making my own plans to prevent future damages of property do to flooding? Will the Town and or Province financially assist me with building a flood berm on my property?

    Rik asked 14 days ago
    Hi Rik, the Municipality, Province and the Muskoka Water Shed Council is reviewing the recent event to see if anything can be done to help control the water level. But yes, all property owners should also be reviewing the recent events, including climate change and how it affected their own property and looking at what steps can be taken to help mitigate the effects of rising water levels or overland flooding on their property. To our knowledge at this time, there is no financial assistance for building a berm. Provincial staff will be in Huntsville on June 12 at 7pm to speak about funding grants, and can help answer your question about assisting with flood mitigation cost.
  • Where do we go for reimbursement of materials and labour.? As the damages were caused by mismanagement at the ministry level

    Darren asked 20 days ago

    Hi Darren, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing can help answer this question at the upcoming public meeting on June 12 at 7pm. The Ministry will explain the process for filing a flood damage claim through the Ontario Disaster Relief Fund as well. Here’s a link on huntsville.ca that you can read for some more context on the Relief Fund. Thank you.

  • Are any steps going to be taken to prevent flooding in the Huntsville/Port Sydney areas in the near future?

    GAil asked 21 days ago

    Hi Gail, Town of Huntsville and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will be holding public meetings on June 12 to hear public concerns and suggestions on how to better be prepared for the next spring freshet (thaw). Also at the 7pm Ministry meeting, the Provincial Government will have staff on hand to explain the process for filing a flood damage claim though the Ontario Disaster Relief Fund. Thank you.

  • Why did you ask LOBA? They are all on the other side of the lake? Why didn't you ask local residents. I have fought to protect this tiny park from commercial use. And close to the water means you are going to place it in the park itself? Utterly inappropriate use of a park.

    Pat asked 22 days ago

    Thank you for your correspondence.  Although I cannot speak on behalf of Council, I can advise that Council’s intention was to address the concern that had been identified by some of the lake associations regarding floating debris from our waterways as a result of the recent flood.  If your association does not want any assistance, we would request that the President of your association advise accordingly and we will ensure a bin is not placed at this location.

  • In a recent newsflash from Lake of Bays Association, they stated the following: "The Town of Huntsville will place a dumpster at the South Portage boat launch on the weekend of June 8 and 9 to collect man-made, floating items retrieved from the lake." Is this dumpster being placed in the park at 4066 South Portage Road? This park was very busy this past weekend. The parking lot was full and people were parking on the road. It is a lousy location for a dumpster.

    Pat asked 22 days ago

    Hi Pat, thank you for your feedback. The dumpster is in the correct location and was agreed upon by the Lake of Bays Association. We will be sure to keep it clear of the boat ramp but it must remain close to the water so it can be easily accessible.

  • Further to your response to my previous question, perhaps the current storm drainage system could be adjusted to flow through the pump chamber I suggested and a manual valve added to the outflow to the river. The valve would be normally open allowing natural unimpeded storm drainage in typical conditions. If the river rose above typical maximum levels, the valve could be closed and pumps used to drain the storm drainage from the Brendale Square area.

    Michael Ankenmann asked 26 days ago

    Thank you. We will pass this on to the engineering firm reviewing this for us, and ask them to review.

    Mark your calendar for the public meetings on June 12 if you wish to attend.

  • I am a retired geotechnical engineer who has experience with building dams and modeling waterlevels in mine tailings basins. Has consideration been given to rebuilding John street one to one and a half metres higher as a flood dyke and building a sump in Brendale square? Pumps could be put in the sump in an extreme flood event and the area kept dry. Geotechnical evaluations would be required for the road reconstruction since building on the underlying swamp would not be straightforward. Flood modeling would be required to determine the effect of the loss of water storage that would be caused by "protecting" Brendale Square. My intuition is that the loss of water storage in Brendale square would be found to be negligible given the surface area of Lake Vernon and Fairy Lake.

    Michael Ankenmann asked 26 days ago

    We are continuing to work with our engineering firm to look for a possible solution. Yes, we have had discussion about the issue you have raised, however the other item which complicates the issue is the storm water system connect to Brendale area. The storm outlet is located near the Boston Pizza parking lot by the river and drains the entire system West of Boston Pizza to include areas such as Cann St, West Rd, Chaffey St, Fetterly St, Herman Ave and Manominee St. Once the river levels raise above the catch basins, the water will simply flow back out the basins.

    It has been suggested that a one-way valve or a cap be placed over the end of the storm drain, but that will stop the system from working as designed. It could cause pressure build-up in a system not designed to handle pressure, causing possible pipe breaks and undermining to happen. The other issue it will create is possible flooding in buildings and homes connected to the storm drainage system.

    So based on the above information, even if the road base is raised to create a dam, the fact that the building will still be below the river level in a flood situation will not solve the building owner's problems.

    There is a public Special Council meeting on June 12th at 6pm and a public Info. Session on June 12th at 7pm, should you wish to attend.

  • Is there any funding available for seasonal residents? Our family cottage dock and boathouse suffered significant damage, our insurance will not cover the costs, and it appears the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians will only cover costs if the property is deemed a primary residence. I don't want to lie that it is, so what are we to do? 115 years of paying taxes to the municipality should account for something!

    Peter asked 28 days ago

    The Disaster Relief Assistance Program is run by the Provincial Government which sets the rules. Yes you are correct that one of those rules is, the damage must be to a primary residence. Provincial staff will be on hand at a public meeting on June 12 @ 7pm to answer specific questions, so it may be best for you to attend and explain your situation.