Community meeting

A Wheatley Virtual Community Meeting is scheduled for Saturday

Wheatley residents will soon have the chance to ask questions about last week’s explosion in a virtual meeting to be held this Saturday at 10 a.m.

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Wheatley residents will soon have the chance to ask questions about last week’s explosion in a virtual meeting scheduled for this Saturday at 10 a.m.

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Questions submitted by on-screen residents will be directed to members of a panel that includes city staff and other officials.

Mayor Darrin Canniff, West Kent Coun, takes part in the session. Melissa Harrigan, Executive Director Don Shropshire, Fire Chief Chris Case and Executive Director of Community Social Services April Rietdyk, as well as representatives from the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Chatham-Kent Legal Services Clinic.

A representative of the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry was also invited, a press release from the municipality said Thursday.

The meeting will be available for viewing on the municipality’s Facebook page and on the YouTube channel.

On August 26, a hydrogen sulfide leak in downtown Wheatley was followed by an explosion that flattened two buildings and caused multiple injuries. Due to gas monitors placed on the scene following two previous leaks this summer, first responders had already evacuated the buildings closest to the alarm and were in the process of evacuating a larger area when the explosion occurred.

Although officials have provided regular updates since the explosion, the municipality has been keen to involve the community more, Shropshire said.

“We understand that people have a lot of questions,” he said. “In a pre-COVID world, we would host the meeting at Wheatley, but the best thing is we use technology to virtually reach out.

“I encourage anyone in Wheatley who has questions to participate. We may not have all the answers, but we will do our best.

Although there are currently no gas readings at the blast site, officials say it is still unclear at this point when displaced residents and business owners can re-enter safely.