Most of the campground at Pigeon Lake Provincial Lake closed for the season Tuesday to allow the province to make a number of upgrades.
Although the Aug. 7th closure was a compromise — the campground was originally supposed to stay closed for the entire season — local businesses see it as the latest blow to hit the area.
Late last month, Alberta Health Services issued a blue-green algae warning for the the lake about 100 kilometers southwest of Edmonton.
Before that, dead fish washed up along Ma-Me-O beach, which was blamed on warm weather heating the lake and stripping oxygen from the water.
Business owners say all this has affected the area, which is heavily dependent on summer visitors. Shayla Johnson noticed fewer campers at her Pigeon Lake liquor store this past weekend.
"Normally the August long weekend is definitely one of our busiest weekends of the summer," she said. "And even this year, it just hurt us."
Johnson can't understand why the province couldn't do the campground renovations in the fall and early spring.
But Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Camille Weleschuk said much of the work is dependent on the weather.
"We do need about three to four months of ideal conditions to get the work done," she said. "You know everything from trenching for the water lines to bringing in power, doing some major earth work for the campground, the campsites."
Weleschuk said the province is using email to promote other activities in the Pigeon Lake area like hiking and shopping.
She said 38 campsites will remain open for the next few weeks.
An earlier story contained wrong information about the number of campsites to remain open.Aug 08, 1970 7:45 AM MT