Explosion levels a building at the corner of Erie Street North and Talbot Trail in Wheatley, August 26, 2021. Photo credit: Kathryn Parent, Photography by Phos via Twitter.

With the green light from municipal council, businesses in Wheatley affected by the August 26th explosion and evacuation are one step closer to getting some financial support.

Municipal officials had to authorize a grant agreement in order for provincial funding to be disbursed, and Mayor Darrin Canniff says now the process can move forward.

“There’s 37 businesses that are affected in Wheatley,” Canniff says. “There’s a two prong approach there, if you’ve lost a percentage of sales there’s going to be some money going there. The second part of it is going to be getting businesses established again, whether it’s relocation costs or a number of other different costs.”

Earlier this month, the province promised $2-million in emergency funding for the Wheatley Business Recovery Program to help affected business owners.

No emergency funding has been announced at this point to support residents who’ve been forced from their homes, but Chatham-Kent Chief Financial Officer Gord Quinton says that will likely come in time.

“I believe of any future decisions, first is after the full discovery of where the gas is coming from and some final determinations by that team, so it’s not to rule out that there won’t be disaster relief funds from the province, just not at this time. I think we need to wait another month or two and let the process continue on the site.”