Wheatley Public Meeting Productive

A crowd of about 150 residents attended a two-and-a-half-hour meeting at the Talbot Trail Golf Club Wednesday evening for an update on the investigation into the recurring gas leak which forced the evacuation of a two-block area in late August.

The meeting was hosted by the Active Citizens of Wheatley.

Mayor Darrin Canniff, West Kent Councillors Melissa Harrigan and Mark Authier attended the session as well as several key municipal staff.

Jennifer Barton, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry also attended in person.

Barton said the investigation continues but the focus is on three “areas of interest” in the immediate vicinity of the August 26 explosion at 15 Erie Street North. She said public safety remains the paramount consideration. She commended local officials for their cooperation and expressed admiration for the resilience of the Wheatley community.

Mayor Canniff said the face-to-face session was invaluable. “It was important to be able to hear from residents. Our focus continues to be safety, completing the investigation and mitigation so we have the answers and solutions we need, getting people back to their homes and businesses, and ensuring that no one is left behind. We know this situation places a physical, financial and emotional toll on people.”

Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire said residents’ concerns about communicating more technical information, security of the evacuation zone, and temporary accessibility to homes and businesses to get records and personal items were all expressed.

“We learned a lot and there were a number of excellent suggestions that we are taking back to the team,” he said. “I’m grateful that we were invited. We appreciate the efforts of the community to work with us. Supporting our business owners and residents who have been evacuated remains a top priority.”

Lauren Anderson, Chair of the Active Citizens group, said the meeting was beneficial.

“I think the community meeting went as well as possible. I definitely saw a shift in how people entered the meeting and how they left the meeting, A little lighter. Seeing everyone together supporting each other in person was very important and necessary for our community,” she said.

View the Video of the Meeting

Thomas Kelly's Presentation - available soon

For more information contact:

Darrin Canniff
Municipality of Chatham Kent

Don Shropshire
Chief Administrative Officer
Municipality of Chatham-Kent

Media Contact:
Jim Blake
Communications Officer
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
519-360-1998 x 3624