Downtown Wheatley after June 2024 demolition. (Photo via Municipality of CK)
Chatham

Demolition of 'iconic' downtown Wheatley buildings brings sadness, memories

Many residents of Wheatley are reminiscent and sad about the iconic buildings and landmarks lost from the recent demolition downtown.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent reported on Wednesday that nine buildings were torn down and demolition work is now complete along Erie Street North and Talbot Road East in Wheatley.

The buildings that came down are:

27 Erie St. N.

29/31 Erie St. N.

37 Erie St. N.

9 Talbot Rd. E.

11 Talbot Rd. E.

13 Talbot Rd. E.

15 Talbot Rd. E.

17 Talbot Rd. E.

23 Talbot Rd. E.

The buildings within the evacuation zone along Erie Street North and Talbot Road East were deemed unsuitable for redevelopment.

The fence surrounding the properties will be moved back and sidewalk access and street parking will be available again in the coming days, according to the municipality.

Officials also said all construction equipment will be removed in next week.

Some people said it's a rebirth for the town with some businesses such as Renny's Village Smokehouse reopening. They reopened for take-out only at the end of June, nearly three years after a hydrogen sulfide explosion rocked the core of Wheatley August 2021.

"We are excited and nervous, but most of all thankful to have the opportunity to re-open our doors again!" said owners Mike and Erika Renwick. "We will start with a soft re-opening. We will start with a temporary menu until we get back in the swing of things and finish the restaurant and patio to its entirety!"

The Wheatley BIA posted on social media it has mixed emotions about the whole process.

"We're thinking of the many proprietors of these establishments at this time. We remain optimistic that this is another positive step in the rebirth of our village. It will take way longer than we want to get there, but we will," it said.

The blast injured 20 people.

Downtown Wheatley after June 2024 demolition. (Photo via Municipality of CK)Downtown Wheatley before demolition June 2024. (Photo via Municipality of CK)

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