Some of the northeast Calgary residents whose homes suffered extensive damage in last month’s powerful hailstorm travelled to Edmonton on Wednesday to demand assistance from the provincial government.
During the storm, hail as big as tennis balls shredded vinyl siding, pounded roofs and smashed windows in several northeast Calgary communities.
In a Tuesday news release, the Hailstorm Action Committee said residents living in the affected communities are “fed up waiting for a response from Premier Jason Kenney.”
“The hailstorm has caused enormous financial and mental distress to residents in northeast Calgary who are already coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, economic turmoil and job losses,” spokesperson Khalil Karbani said.
“We need immediate help to deal with a storm that has fundamentally changed people’s lives.”
The Wednesday convoy organized by the Hailstorm Action Committee left Calgary shortly after 8 a.m. and planned to hold a demonstration on the steps of the Alberta legislature from noon until 1 p.m.
The group says it is asking Kenney to:
- Convene a roundtable with community leaders and three levels of government to develop a plan
- Make a formal application to the federal government for Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements
- Provide confirmation that residents’ insurance premiums will not spike due to the storm
In late June, Kenney said the UCP government would be expediting a relief package to cover uninsurable damages, losses and costs incurred by Calgary, Airdrie and Rocky View County.
He added that most damage to homes and vehicles will be covered by private insurance companies.
“We will be working with the City of Calgary on the details of the disaster relief program response and funding,” Kenney said, adding that municipalities affected by the storm have to submit applications under the disaster relief program that include an estimate of the repairs needed to municipal infrastructure, as well as any costs for emergency response and potential payments to support those with uninsurable private property damages.
Residents living in the impacted communities have already sent a letter to Kenney asking for provincial assistance in repairing the damages caused by the storm.
At the time, Karbani, who was one the residents behind the letter, said while the funding is appreciated, it won’t help the majority of residents in the area dealing with the aftermath of the storm. He said residents in the affected communities want more funding to close the gap in their insurance coverage.
On Wednesday, the province was unable to provide updated numbers on how many Calgarians had received assistance through the Disaster Recovery Program.
“Albertans pay for insurance and rely on it in situations just like these. Hail damage is covered by insurance,” Municipal Affairs press secretary Timothy Gerwing said.
“Insurers have so far processed over 70,000 claims and are paying out over $1.2 billion — even more than the initial estimates of $1 billion.”
Gerwing added that the Disaster Recovery Program was approved to cover uninsurable losses such as overland flooding.
– With files from Global News’ Tracy Nagai