Aging Baptiste Lake Dam north of Bancroft to be rehabilitated

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has announced a $22 million investment to repair six dams across Ontario

Baptiste Lake Dam north of Bancroft. (kawarthaNOW screenshot of Hawks View Drone video)
Baptiste Lake Dam north of Bancroft. (kawarthaNOW screenshot of Hawks View Drone video)

The Baptiste Lake Dam north of Bancroft is one of six aging dams across Ontario the provincial government will be rehabilitating at a cost of $22 million.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, which is responsible for the operation and maintenance of 310 dams across the province including the Baptiste Lake Dam, made the announcement on Friday (November 24).

Also known as the High Falls dam, the Baptiste Lake Dam is located at the outlet of the York River northwest of the hamlet of Birds Creek and controls the level of the lake. It was built in 1967, replacing a concrete dam built in 1932, which itself replaced a wooden dam built in 1866 by a logging company. Both earlier dams were replaced because of flooding issues.

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The other five dams that are scheduled for rehabilitation are Agimak Lake Dam in the Township of Ignace, Manitou River Dam on Manitoulin Island, Kashegaba Lake Dam in the Municipality of Whitestone, Lyndhurst Dam in the Village of Lyndhurst, and Magnetawan Lake Dams in the Village of Magnetawan. The ministry says rehabilitation of the six dams will extend the useful service life of each dam for up to 100 years.

“The reconstruction of these six dams has been identified in the ministry’s long-term infrastructure plan as critical priorities to support public safety and the environment,” reads a media release from the ministry.

While no information was provided about when the rehabilitation work would begin on the six dams, members of the Baptiste Lake Association recently met with ministry representatives to discuss concerns about the condition of the current dam, and were told repairs were planned in 2024 subject to available funding.