From time to time, the water level in Manitouwabing Lake becomes a matter of concern to users of the lake. Too low: rocks, plus access to shallow areas of the lake, are a concern. Too high: docks, boat houses and low lying land can be flooded. In 2014 Bracebridge Generation Ltd. assumed responsibility for monitoring and adjusting the level of the lake via the Hurdville dam; a responsibility formerly managed by Parry Sound Power.
On Tuesday, January 6th 2015, MLCA President Phil Boyd and McKellar Councillor Bonnie Beier met with Vince Kulchycki, Chief Operating Officer of Lakeland Holding Ltd., which owns Bracebridge Generation Ltd., and Operations Manager Bryan Ingram. The purpose of the meeting was to address the concern of Manitouwabing Lake residents over recent high water levels.
Bracebridge Generation is aware of the problem and will be installing cellular-based remote water level gauges at other dams in the watershed; two outfitted with rain/temperature sensors. "These additional gauges will help us collect and analyze watershed conditions in real time, making the staff's field work more efficient and enhance our decision making process. These improvements will help us manage levels and flows across the Seguin River watershed," said Mr. Ingram. A similar water level gauge is already operating at the Hurdville dam. It provides data to the Bracebridge control centre every 15 minutes.
There are challenges, however. One being the Hurdville dam's limited outflow capacity, which makes it almost impossible to successfully process exceptionally high volumes of rain over an extended period of time.
Mr. Kulchycki and Mr. Ingram committed to meeting with MLCA and Council representatives again in the spring to review progress, and will attend the MLCA Annual Meeting in July 2015 to brief Members on the complexity of the task and the actions being taken to alleviate what has been an ongoing challenge. In the meantime, Bryan Ingram at 705-645-2670, extension 510, would appreciate a call if you have a serious concern about an exceptionally high or low lake water level.
High or low water levels have been of concern to Members for many years. Below is a letter from the then President of the Parry Sound power company Calvin Epps (dated October 15, 2003) along with a copy of a resolution describing procedures that employees were to follow to control the level of Manitouwabing Lake.
Letter from Parry Sound Power President
(October 15, 2003)
Public Utilities Commission of the Town of Parry Sound
Resolution No. 87-83 (August 10, 1987)
The benchmark referred to can be found at the southeast corner of the dam. Our lake is part of a complex system of rivers and lakes feeding into Mill Lake and from there into Georgian Bay. All parts of the system have to be taken into account when changes are made at points such as the Hurdville dam. For example, if too much water is discharged too quickly, it can cause flooding downstream. A map of this lake system is available for viewing at the Parry Sound Power office.
Whenever the level of the lake is a concern it would be especially helpful if calls were made to Parry Sound Power BEFORE a crisis occurs. Early warning from residents will supplement the regular monitoring performed by employees of the power company and help them to take action before a problem occurs.