Flooding in the Mattawa area has prompted Transport Canada to close local rivers to the public on Tuesday, May 14.

Due to the magnitude of this year’s flooding, and following consultations with local authorities and law enforcement, Minister Garneau has extended the areas covered by the navigation restrictions.

Ontario Provincial Police are asking people to stay off the following waterways:

  • Ottawa River – between Otto Holden Dam and Deux Montagnes Lake
  • Mattawa River – between Hurdman Dam and the junction of the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers

Government officials say the closure is necessary to protect the safety of people and vessels, protect berms, as well as help first responders focus on the flood conditions.

“Although we have expanded the area covered by the Interim Order, I am pleased to see the improved situation in the Muskoka area. We continue to work with municipalities and law enforcement to ensure the safety of our fellow citizens.” said Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.

In the listed areas, navigation by non-emergency vessels is strictly prohibited, which includes pleasure craft and human-powered craft, such as canoes or kayaks. The Interim Order does not apply to public ferry service in the waters. 

There are a few exceptions, one of those being a person that needs to get to their property that is not accessible by road. If citizens must use a waterway to access a property, they are urged to navigate at as slow a speed as possible.

If anyone is found boating in the closed area, they will be subject to a charge and fine of up to $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 18 months under the federal Canada Shipping Act.

Waterways in Quebec, including Deux Montagnes Lake, Mille Îles River, and Des Prairies River, are also closed to the public.

The Town of Mattawa is asking people to limit their water use during this time and stay away from impacted areas to allow emergency crews to work.

Town officials say that drivers need to pay attention to sign warnings that are in place, not drive along flooded roads, and look for other ways around.