Parts of Wheatley town core to reopen Tuesday as drilling concludes

The reduced evacuation zone in Wheatley. (Municipality of Chatham Kent - image credit)
The reduced evacuation zone in Wheatley. (Municipality of Chatham Kent - image credit)

The municipality of Chatham Kent is reducing the size of the evacuation zone in Wheatley's town centre.

An evacuation zone was created around the area of an explosion caused by a gas leak last August that destroyed and damaged buildings and sent several people to hospital in August 2021.

A press release from the municipality Monday said that drilling in the area is now done and that they are able to open the roadway again.

The section of Elm Street between Erie Street North and Little street and Foster Street between Erie Street North and Victoria will reopen to traffic on Tuesday.

Ryan Brown, the director of Public Works for the Municipality of Chatham Kent, said reopening the streets will provide a "much improved east-west traffic flow through the community."

It said that a "scrubber system" to capture any of the hydrogen sulphide gas at the site could lead to a further reduction in the evacuation zone.

"This could lead to a further reduction of the evacuation zone and the reopening of Erie Street North between Elm and Talbot Road," the release read.

A flare stack will also remain onsite as a backup system for the time being as an additional safety measure.

The municipality also said that security personnel will remain at the site of the reduced evacuation zone.