An oil spill last month near Sundre is hurting the local economy, officials in the central Alberta town say.
In June a pipeline owned by Plains Midstream Canada ruptured, spilling about 3,000 barrels of oil into the Red Deer River.
But even thought the accident happened several kilometres downstream of Sundre, news of the spill has scared away summer visitors to the town, said Gord Moore, manager of the Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce.
“So we have some great rapids up in the mountains there — Class 3 and 4 rapids. But they've had cancellations … and campgrounds are seeing a decline in numbers because they don't want to be anywhere near a river that has oil in it,” he said.
Local horseback riding outfitters have also seen a drop in business, he said.
In a bid to get the word out that attractions around Sundre are safely upstream of the oil spill, local businesses and town officials held a rally on Monday at noon.
Many businesses say reservations were cancelled when news of the crude spill in June hit the news and it's been slow ever since.
Sherry Tytkanych, president of the Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce, says businesses rely on tourists in the summer.
"Typically we go from 3,000 [people] during the winter to 10 to 12 thousand people in the summer," she said. "It's huge. We have so many people from Calgary that have summer homes out here, people that come and camp. Some of the campgrounds are by the river so that was an obvious concern for them but I think everything's turning around so hopefully this message gets out to people that it's business as usual."
One river rafting company says it has no reservations at all for next week, and that overall business is down about 20 per cent.