Canada: No oil spill hurts tourism
7th July 2012
Sundre, Alberta: A town in west-central Alberta says its tourism industry is suffering because people think an oil spill happened there. Sundre is the closest town to where the Plains Midstream pipeline leaked into the Red Deer River last month.
Gord Moore with Sundre's Chamber of Commerce says the town is upstream from the spill and not affected by it. Moore says no oil spilled in the backcountry or along the river, so all activities associated with the river such as whitewater rafting and camping, are open and ready for business.
He says the economic impact of people's misconception has been huge, with many cancellations at camp sites and whitewater rafting companies.
About 475,000 litres of light sour crude oil leaked from the pipeline into Jackson Creek, about 100 kilometres from Red Deer, on June 7. The creek flows into the Red Deer River, which flows into Glennifer Lake, a man-made reservoir that supplies drinking water for several communities, including the city of Red Deer.
The lake reopened last weekend after government officials said the cleanup of the lake and shoreline by Plains Midstream Canada has been successful and oil is no longer being detected. However, cleanup along the shores of the river up to the point of the leak is ongoing.
The region around Sundre is considered pristine wilderness by many in Alberta. It's a common getaway area for people in Calgary and popular with anglers and hunters. The area where the oil spilled is sparsely populated and mostly ranch land.
Lubetech says: Considering the follow-on costs of spills rarely considers the wider impact beyond the immediate economic cost of cleanup and fines. Here, a community is paying the price and to recover that lost business will probably require further advertsiing and promotion costs.