Ontario provides $2 million to Wheatley following explosion

·2 min read
Two days after the buildings in Wheatley exploded at the end of August.  (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)
Two days after the buildings in Wheatley exploded at the end of August. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)

One month after an explosion rocked downtown Wheatley, the provincial government is providing $2 million in funding to support the community.

The money will "help directly impacted eligible businesses resume operations and provide goods and services to families," the Ontario government said in a news release on Saturday.

The funding comes after a suspected hydrogen sulphide gas explosion destroyed two buildings and injured 20 people in Wheatley on Aug. 26. Since then, homes and businesses in the downtown core have been evacuated as the municipal and provincial governments work to determine the source of the explosion.

More than 100 people were displaced and there is no timeline for when they can return to their homes and businesses.

"The people of Wheatley have shown tremendous strength in the aftermath of the devastating gas leak explosion last month," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in the news release.

"They have pulled together and shown incredible resolve as the community works to rebuild what was lost. As this funding shows, we stand ready and willing to help the town of Wheatley and they can continue to count on our
government's support."

The funding announcement comes after Ford visited the blast site on Sept. 21 with Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford.

The municipality of Chatham-Kent announced Sept. 20 that it had reached an agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources for the province to take the lead on the investigation.

The province has hired a consulting firm to do technical analysis and is funding gas monitoring efforts in the area.

"Local businesses are the heart and soul of Wheatley's community and the absence of these vital operators is felt by all the residents," Rickford said in a news release.

"Our government stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Wheatley and this funding reaffirms our commitment to ensure they continue to have the support they need."

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