Sudbury

Concern Gogama derailment, spill could repel tourists

It's been just over a month since a train carrying crude oil derailed near Gogama sparking a massive environmental clean up.

'There's still definitely a lot of concerns long-term from the people of the community'

An aerial eastward view on March 7 of a CN train derailment site near Gogama. (Transportation Safety Board)

It's been just over a month since a train carrying crude oil derailed near Gogama sparking a massive environmental clean up.

CN Rail said remediation crews have now removed all the ice for an approximately 400 meter stretch up and downstream of the rail bridge where the train carrying crude oil from Alberta left the tracks on March 7, causing the fire and spill.

The company has not said how much oil leaked out of rail cars in the wreck, but Gerry Talbot said it's a significant amount. 

"So far there has been 926,000 litres of oil and water mixture type of thing that has been collected," said Talbot, the secretary of the local services board in Gogama.

CN said large ice booms have also been installed on the river to prevent the uncontrolled flow of ice through the remediation site during the spring thaw.

Testing so far has not shown any contamination of ground water, the company said, and monitoring continues.

Concerns for tourism

While it's good news, Talbot said some in the community are still worried about what the oil spill will do to property values, and whether tourists will still flock to local lodges for the summer fishing season.

"People may not be calling the local tourism lodges to book rooms or to book a trailer site. Is it because of the oil? Well, you probably won't know because they are not calling," he said.

"There's still definitely a lot of concerns long-term from the people of the community, and rightly so."

CN is also asking local fishermen to drop off specimens at the Gogama Community Centre so it can continue to test for the presence of any oil products in the fish.

The company said there is no estimate on how long it will take to complete the environmental remediation of the area.

Several tanker cars caught fire after a Canadian National Railway train carrying crude oil derailed in northern Ontario 0:58

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.