By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Wheatley’s post-explosion economic recovery is getting a significant boost.
At a recent meeting, C-K council approved the hiring of an economic development officer for the community for a two-year term.
The position is to be funded by the province as part of Ontario’s commitment to assist with rebuilding Wheatley and restoring the town’s business economy.
It’s estimated to cost $225,000 over the two years.
According to a report from administration, the province has provided $9.8 million in emergency funding to date, with around $7 million being dispersed to affected businesses, commercial landlords and not-for-profit agencies.
Earlier this year, the provincial government announced $11 million in continued support to the municipality to assist with ongoing emergency management, investigation and community recovery expenses related to the blast.
West Kent Coun. Lauren Anderson thanked municipal staff for moving forward on the hire and she also commended Wheatley Task Force members for their “dedication and patience” throughout the process of recovery.
“I really look forward to this opportunity and what we can accomplish in two years,” Anderson said.
On Aug. 26, 2021 a devastating explosion rocked downtown Wheatley. It destroyed two businesses, injured 20 people and forced the evacuation of 23 residential and 13 commercial properties.