Province offers $2 million to help Wheatley business recover from massive explosion

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A town in southwestern Ontario rocked by a massive explosion last month will be receiving up to $2 million from the provincial government to help with recovery efforts.

Funds will be directed to the downtown businesses affected by the blast to resume operations.

The Aug. 26 explosion, suspected to be caused by a recurring gas leak, levelled a building in downtown Wheatley and injured 20.

Premier Doug Ford and Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford visited the town to assess the situation and express support last week, prior to the funding announcement.

“The people of Wheatley have shown tremendous strength in the aftermath of the devastating gas leak explosion last month,” Ford said in a statement.

“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 explosion at a privately owned building was close to a location where hydrogen sulphide gas was first discovered in June, prompting an evacuation order and the declaration of a state of emergency.

In July, local officials declared a second state of emergency after confirming hydrogen sulphide was once again present in the building that was later levelled in the August explosion.

Details of the business support program will be developed in consultation with the municipality and business community. Ontario will also continue providing technical support and working closely with the municipality’s economic development and social services departments.

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