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Main Street reopens two months after Penetanguishene building collapse

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It's been a difficult two months for business owners and residents displaced by a building collapse in Penetanguishene, but with the rubble now cleared, a closed portion of the downtown core is now reopened.

On Saturday, the Town of Penetanguishne reopened Main Street to vehicular and pedestrian traffic after the demolition and clearing of the collapsed 78 Main Street building was complete.

"It's been incredibly impactful for the business. It's been hard, you know the road being shut down. This is our main entrance," said James Dalzell, the owner of Pulse Nutrition. "Definitely, the numbers were down quite a bit. We were lucky that on this side of the road, we were able to stay open, which was good, but people still didn't want to come down here. The parking was tough. It was hard."

Dalzell told CTV News he's looking to move past the collapse and focus on a brighter future.

"Honestly, it's so funny. I've never been excited in my life for a street opening like this," he said. "But we happened to be here at the time with the kids, and then all of a sudden, the cars were going by, so it was pretty exciting seeing the parking."

Though the roadway is back open, not everyone has been able to return to their respective properties and homes.

Mayor Doug Rawson said 44 people were displaced on the street block, including the 14 people who were living in the collapsed building.

"We've begun bringing people back the last couple of days and will continue throughout the week," Rawson said. "That block will be open to those businesses to come back next week, and they can begin assessments of what they need to do. So, it's just going to take time as we start evaluating each facility, but over the next week, everyone will start coming back home."

The mayor added that he appreciates everyone who helped to show their support to the Town and those displaced following the collapse on September 7. To show more support for local business, he added that the Town is encouraging residents to attend the "Christmas on the Hill event on November 16.

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