High Water

Lisa Mantella stands at the edge of her Wasaga Beach property on a sweltering July day and points to the water where, about 20 feet from shore, an iron bar protrudes from the gentle waves. “That’s my property line,” she says. “I used to have four posts on the beach marking the boundary between my property and the public Provincial Park beach, but they’ve all been washed up over the years. You can see two different colours of the water. The second colour way out there is where the beachfront used to be in 2011.

Waterfront property owners like Mantella, as well as regional municipalities, Georgian Bay protection groups, and cross-border U.S./Canada Great Lakes agencies are all very concerned about rising water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron (including Georgian Bay) which, this year, have set all-time high records. It’s a far cry from only a few years ago, when they were lamenting the opposite problem – record low water levels that exposed vegetation, rocks and debris along the shoreline and left some private docks high and dry (but on the plus side, greatly expanded local beaches).

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Written by: Marc Huminilowycz, photography by Doug Burlock