06/16/2012 05:57 EDT | Updated 08/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Alberta Oil Spill: Plains Midstream Canada Still Can't Say How Long Cleanup Will Take


DICKSON, Alta. - People with homes on an Alberta lake where oil from a pipeline leak flowed say the company that owns the pipe still can't say for sure how long the cleanup will take.

Gary Mortier says he was among about 150 people who attended a Plains Midstream Canada open house for residents of the Gleniffer Lake Resort and the Carefree Resort on Saturday.

Mortier sells real estate at Gleniffer Lake and also operates a boat rental business and says people are mostly satisfied with how the company has handled things.

He says one person at the open house asked what sort of compensation would be available if the cleanup stretched into the summer.

He says the company representatives responded that landowners would have to call a toll-free number.

Up to 475,000 litres of oil leaked into the Red Deer River and flowed into Gleniffer Lake earlier this month.

Company vice-president Stephen Bart has said compensation would be available, but hasn't provided details.

Media were told the open houses on Saturday were private.

Plains Midstream Canada spokesperson Darlene Crowell confirmed in an email that landowners wondering about compensation would indeed have to call the toll-free line for information.

"At this point, we are focused on cleanup. We understand that the release has impacted people in different ways and we will continue to keep the lines of communications open with local residents," Crowell said in the email.

The company has scheduled a media update for Monday.

Mortier says there were about 10 company representatives at the open house and there was also a video presentation.

"A lot of people realize we're an oil province and this is bound to happen," Mortier said.

He noted some people he talked to at the open house thought a review of regulations may be needed in order to prevent more spills from happening.

Plains Midstream has said high river levels flushed most of the oil downstream into Gleniffer Lake.

The Alberta government says it is monitoring water on the river and the lake twice daily at 21 different sites. It says trace levels of hydrocarbons have been detected beyond the containment booms on the lake, but that the levels are well below the province's drinking water guidelines.

The province is still advising people not to draw water directly from the river or lake, and it's telling people not to swim or fish in the lake, either.

Mortier says he hasn't had any real estate inquiries since the spill, but he says that could be due to the cool, wet weather lately.

"Is it going to scare people away? We don't know. It's kind of a hidden paradise here so the exposure may end up being a good thing.

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