Oil covered plants are shown on the banks of the Red Deer river north of Sundre, AB June 9, 2012.
Credits: Jim Wells/QMI AGENCY
CALGARY -- Sundre , AB, is still open for business, and for pleasure.
That's the message tourism officials and the area MP are delivering in the aftermath of an oil spill about 10 km from the town, 130 km northwest of Calgary.
Wild Rose MP Blake Richards and the Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce will host a rally Monday in an effort to boost tourism they say has been tarnished by the spill.
"It's a beautiful area, and we want people to be aware there is still great recreational opportunities and make sure we are highlighting the tourism operators who are there and giving them the chance to get a little bit of attention so we can get more visitors out there," Richards said.
On June 7, about 470,000 litres of sweet crude leaked into Jackson Creek, a tributary of the Red Deer River, when a Plains Midstream Canada's pipeline burst sending oil downstream to Gleniffer Lake.
Chamber of Commerce president Sherry Tytkanyeh said the incident has spurred misinformation that needs to be corrected: The river and surrounding area upstream from the release point, including Sundre, was not impacted.
"It's business as usual," she said.
"Tourism is still very important to Sundre and none of that was affected."
Tytkanyeh said white-water rafting companies and campgrounds in Sundre lost business as a result of the misconception.
"People heard 'oil spill' and there were cancellations," she said.
"And it's the ripple effect -- we are trying to be proactive and encourage people to still come out to Sundre and enjoy everything we have to offer."
Richards said he plans to raft down the river Monday as a way to spread the message, as well.
Last month, Calgary-based Merchant Law Group launched a $75-million class-action suit against Plains Midstream, seeking compensation for those living or working in the area who suffered physical and financial losses from the spill.
Crews continue to clean up the lake and have planned work on the pipeline for the next few weeks at the release site.