Municipal officials say exploration into what is causing the recurring gas leak in Wheatley has reached the drilling stage.
Thomas Kelly, Chatham-Kent General Manager, Infrastructure and Engineering Services, said six 10-foot holes have been cored in area of the explosion. Gas testing and monitoring is underway and this information will be used to determine next steps.
An explosion Aug. 26 destroyed two buildings, injured 20 people and has led to an extended evacuation of the community’s downtown core.
Municipal and provincial officials are also providing residents and businesses assistance. Municipal Employment & Social Services case management services are available at the resource centre, located at 108 Talbot Rd. E. Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Wheatley Area Food Bank is open each Tuesday from nine a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The centre also houses the Wheatley Branch of the Chatham Kent Library that is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p. m. and Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire said the centre is the result of a partnership between the municipality and the Wheatley Recovery Group, a community effort involving Wheatley residents including the Business Improvement Association.
“We have committed to providing assistance to the community, and having the Wheatley Recovery Group involved means we can directly address issues from a local perspective and provide the assistance people need most,” he said in a media release. “We’re grateful for the partnership.”
The municipality is urging residents with questions about the situation to reach out through the centre, call the municipality at 519-360-1998 or 3-1-1 Monday- Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chatham-Kent’s General Manager of Community Human Services, April Rietdyk, said housing services are still being provided to a number of families and individuals.
She said case managers are also able to help displaced individuals in obtaining winter coats and cold-weather clothing.
Residents requiring emergency housing outside of weekday office hours may call the Homeless Response Line (HRL) at (519) 354-6628.
Evacuees may also call 519-351-8573 Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and ask to speak with a Wheatley Crisis Case Manager for assistance with housing, food, and other support services.