Province to provide additional $3.9 million for downtown Wheatley businesses

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

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent announced Monday it secured an additional $3.9 million from the province to help support Wheatley businesses, non-profits and commercial landlords impacted by the explosion last August.

The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade provided the $3.9 million which will bring the total amount secured to $5.9 million.

“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,” downtown business owners and co-chairs of the BIA Mike and Erika Renwick said in a news release.

To date, the municipality says $1.97 million has been distributed among 30 businesses, four non-profits, and 19 commercial properties over the last several months in an effort to provide financial help while they are unable to operate.

“Our municipality has been focusing on doing everything we 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,” said Stuart McFadden, director of economic development services.

The additional funds will be given out in three phases to help the affected businesses revenue loses up to August 2022. The first disbursement is taking place immediately to approved applicants, the municipality says.

“We’d like to thank the businesses of Wheatley for their patience, understanding, and tenacity during this difficult process. We’d also like to thank Premier Ford and his team for their diligent efforts to get these funds released into our community,” said Mayor Darrin Canniff. “This process has shown what can be accomplished when a fluid collaborative relationship is established between municipal and provincial government.”