STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Greenpeace mocks province on travel website

Posted by mhudema on June 27, 2008

By MICHELLE THOMPSON, Sun Media

Greenpeace has launched a scathing travel website vilifying the province for new “tourist attractions” created by tarsands.

Toxic lakes, cleared forests and black sand beaches are among the sites visitors can expect to find in Wild Rose Country, charges TravellingAlberta.com, which went live today.

The site – which includes facetious weather info and vacation ideas – was meant as a light-hearted attempt at publicizing environmental damage caused by industry, said a Greenpeace leader.

“It’s sort of a tongue-and-cheek way of getting the information out there,” said Mike Hudema, a tarsands campaigner.

But the reality of the issue is no joke, he said, citing streams and forests destructed by Alberta’s oilsands.

“The reason people come to Alberta is to see nature,” he said. “We’re losing all of that because of tarsands.”

Promoted internationally, the Greenpeace site calls on visitors to write Premier Ed Stelmach and some cabinet ministers, demanding tarsand development be halted.

Environmental activists aren’t trying to quash Alberta tourism, Hudema said, but fear there could be little sight-seeing to do if the tarsands industry continues.

“There’s a lot of amazing reasons people come to Alberta,” he said. “That’s being lost by development.”

Cindy Ady, the province’s tourism minister, shared a different opinion with Sun Media.

The Calgary MLA said she was disappointed in Greenpeace’s site, which she believes provides an inaccurate portrayal of Alberta’s $5.4-billion tourism industry.

“I don’t think it represents the true picture of Alberta,” Ady said. “We think we’ve got one of the neatest places in the world.

“We’ve got some of the most stunning vistas in the world. It’s a real destination.”

The province represented on TravellingAlberta.com is not the same provinces Ady represents when she boasts of Alberta on an international level, she said.

“We’ve got a lot to be proud of here,” she said. “It’s the fourth strongest industry in the province.”

michelle.thompson@sunmedia.ca

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