Homeless for the holidays in Wheatley

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Dozens of families who can’t get to their homes in Wheatley will instead receive a gift basket courtesy of the municipality.

As work continues in downtown Wheatley, following the explosion four long months ago, residents who remain out of their homes are getting the baskets.

Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff said in a media release that “nothing can replace being in your home during the holidays, but the gift is a heartfelt gesture while we continue to work toward resolving the issue.”

More than 100 baskets are being delivered to the Village Resource Centre for distribution and pick up.

The baskets were prepared by Heidi’s Eats and Sweets and contain fruit, candy, chocolate and gift certificates from local businesses.

Residents are being contacted by resource centre volunteers.

During a short pause in work Sunday, eight displaced residents were allowed back into their homes for a short period to retrieve personal effects.

Demolition of buildings at the site of the explosion has been completed, according to municipal officials. Excavation and a pathway analysis are now underway.

While work is taking place, officials have deemed it unsafe for all non-essential personnel to be within the evacuated area.

Chatham-Kent general manager of infrastructure and engineering services Thomas Kelly said recently such analysis is a key factor in determining how the gas is reaching the surface.

The municipality has been advised that some local residents detect a gas-like smell in the area.

The technical team has reviewed all on-site gas monitoring equipment, and there are no appreciable readings at this time.  It is possible that the current on-going construction activity and soil disturbance is the source of the smell.

 

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