Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.
The Province of Ontario has announced $2 million in funding for the town of Wheatley in the wake of the August 26th gas explosion that injured 20 and left local families without homes.
On the downside, the evacuation orders could remain in place for those affected for another six months, well into 2022.
The announcements came during Saturday morning’s virtual town hall meeting and following a recent visit from Premier Doug Ford.
The funding is meant to help directly impacted eligible businesses resume operations and provide goods and services to families who have been displaced.
“The people of Wheatley have shown tremendous strength in the aftermath of the devastating gas leak explosion last month,” says Premier Ford. “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.”
Details of the business support program will be developed in consultation with the municipality and business community. The province will also continue providing technical support and working closely with the municipality’s economic development and social services departments.
“Local businesses are the heart and soul of Wheatley’s community and the absence of these vital operators is felt by all the residents,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “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.”
An investigation into the cause of the leak and the explosion is ongoing.