Province providing additional $3.9 million to Wheatley

'Wheatley Strong' sign in downtown Wheatley, Ont. on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. (Chris Campbell/CTV Windsor)

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has secured a further $3.9 million from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade to support the community of Wheatley after the explosion in August of last year.

That brings the total amount secured to $5.9 million.

To date, $1.97 million has been distributed amongst 30 businesses, four not-for-profit organizations and 19 commercial properties over the last several months, helping provide much needed financial assistance while they are unable to operate.

Downtown Wheatley business owners and co-chairs of the BIA Mike and Erika Renwick say they're pleased to see this additional provincial funding distributed. 

"We appreciate the on-going efforts of the Municipality's Economic Development department in their communications surrounding the funding from the province. Our hope is that these additional funds will help to alleviate some of the continued financial hardships these businesses have endured and we look forward to the continued support of the province in regard to this." 

Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff says they're thankful to the businesses of Wheatley for their patience, understanding, and tenacity during this difficult process. 

"We'd also like to thank Premier Doug Ford and his team for their diligent efforts to get these funds released into our community. This process has shown what can be accomplished when a fluid collaborative relationship is established between municipal and provincial government."

The additional $3.9 million is being distributed in three phases designed to assist the affected businesses with revenue losses up to August 2022, with the first disbursement taking place immediately to approved applicants.

Director of Economic Development Services Stuart McFadden says the municipality has been focusing on doing everything they can to help the affected businesses of Wheatley. 

"We're thankful that the province of Ontario has been at the table working with us from day one and hopefully this additional $3.9 million will help the businesses during the time it takes to open their doors again," .

Chatham-Kent Economic Development has been coordinating the process of fund disbursement to the displaced businesses and will continue to play a role providing affected businesses with up-to-date information, guidance, and support.