Last week, Brad Griffin, the owner and operator of Northland Marine and Storage in Carnarvon, Ontario, found himself hauling boats out of Maple Lake about three weeks earlier than usual. After Parks Canada dropped water levels on five lakes in Haliburton County to sustain the water levels elsewhere on the Trent Severn Waterway, many local cottagers discovered their vessels sitting in mud still tied up at their docks.
"I have a lot of customers with boats on the five-lake chain here,' says Griffin. "I had just pulled a customer's boat out of the water when two other boaters came along and asked how I got the boat out. All the other cottagers' boats in the area were high and dry. There were pontoon boats that were 20 feet from water. There were Glastrons laying on their sides.'
After discussing what could be done with the two boaters who approached him, Griffin decided to call CTV News to draw attention to problem facing his customers. "So I phoned CTV in Toronto and told them there were several dozen boats stuck in the mud on the five affected lakes in the area. They sent out a news crew the following morning and did their story.'
According to the broadcast by CTV News' reporter, K.C. Colby, Parks Canada posted an announcement on its website stating that water levels would be dropping. Despite that, many boaters were caught unaware and failed to pull their boats from the water in time.
Griffin told Colby during the interview that the cost of hauling a boater's vessel from the mud could range from "anywhere from 100 to 400 dollars.' And although pulling boats from the mud means extra work for Griffin, he says he would much rather be hauling his customers' boats from the water for fear of the negative impact that this experience could have on the marine sales side of his business.
Shortly after the broadcast, water levels on the lakes were temporarily restored to provide boaters a window of opportunity to haul out their vessels. According to a letter sent out by Paul MacInnes, a volunteer with the Maple Beech and Cameron Lake Area Property Owners' Association, water levels on the affected lakes are expected to decline once again on October 4. Members have been warned to make arrangements to have their vessels hauled out before that time.