If you’re heading out on the water soon, officials with the City of Kenora are reminding you to be extra cautious around homes with the extreme and rising water levels in the area.

The City of Kenora says boaters should use caution when going past homes on waterways that are sandbagged, as wakes can damage or overcome sandbagged walls that have been built to protect homes.

“People that are still on the waterways should be extremely cautious of creating wake,” explains Kenora’s Fire Chief and Community Emergency Management Coordinator, Kent Readman.

Readman notes that a number of residents who have had to sandbag their homes and their properties have reached out to city officials with their concerns, especially after high winds hit the area last week.

“People are spending a lot of time and effort trying to protect their property, spending hours sandbagging. With the wakes of boats, they’re starting to see the damage caused by that. If you’re on the water, be extremely cautious and try to help out these people that are experiencing the high water levels on their property.”

The Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association has asked boaters to keep their top speed below 10 km/h when within 30 metres of shore, and reminded residents that wakes can impact animals’ shoreline nests and can erode away shorelines.

The OPP has also warned residents about a large amount of debris floating in area lakes after washouts in the area, and boaters are asked to remove any debris from the water when they find it.

The Lake of the Woods area and northwestern Ontario areas have seen severe flooding situations this spring, with water levels on Lake of the Woods nearing their all-time highs after record-high snow and rainfall over the winter and spring.

In Kenora, an evacuation notice remains in effect for parts of Essex Road, School Road and parts of Coker Road, as well as Sedesky Road and Wildwood Drive. A flood watch has also been issued for Herbacz Road, Golf Course Road and Gould Road.

The City of Kenora’s Municipal Emergency Control Group says Parks and Facility staff recently conducted an assessment of all city-owned docks for structural issues, and some have now become unstable or have been covered by rising water levels. A list of closed docks can be found HERE.

The City of Kenora is asking residents to help report flooding or rising water levels in the area. You’re asked to send an email to service@kenora.ca to report water that is at concerning levels, or flooded roads. You may also call City Hall at 467-2000 between Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.