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Proposed hailstorm roofing rebate in Calgary upped to $3,000, expanded to entire city

Residents survey the damage before begining cleanup in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, June 14, 2020, after a major hail storm damaged homes and flooded streets on Saturday. .THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Calgary homeowners still looking to get help replacing their roofing with more hail-resistant materials after the billion-dollar hailstorm in 2020 will be getting a bit more support than originally thought.

On Tuesday, the city’s priorities and finance committee approved a recommendation from city officials to up the resilient roofing rebate program for homeowners to $3,000.

“(City administration) found that the $2,000 rebate probably wasn’t enough to change people’s behavior because they didn’t really cover the difference in cost between the non-resilient roofing and the resilient roofing,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said. “So they increased the amount a little bit and they increased the overall scope so that more people would be eligible.”

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Under the rebate program to start in June 2021, the first six months would be open to homeowners who were hit by the June 13, 2020 hailstorm in the city’s northeast. After that, other homeowners across the city would be able to access the rebates.

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Only single-detached and semi-detached homes would be eligible.

“The purpose of the program is to educate Calgarians on the benefit of resilient roofing materials, and to support Calgarians in building a more resilient city,” Kris Dietrich with Calgary Building Services told the city’s priorities and finance committee (PFC).

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“There’s 320,000 homes in Calgary to be eligible for this type of program,” Dietrich said. “We said that approximately seven per cent of those people could potentially be looking at replacing their roof. And then of that seven per cent, we figured about three per cent may be interested in this program.”

The committee recommended council approve $2.175 million for the first year of the program by a vote of 7-1, with only Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu opposing the recommendation.

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More funding and any changes to the proposed three-year program would come back to committee and council after the first year, with new homes to be included in the final year.

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Dietrich said getting the insurance industry on board with matching incentives will help a program that may not fully fund upgrades and could become oversubscribed.

“If this were to happen, we intend to return to PFC to request additional funds,” Dietrich said.

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If approved by city council, the first year’s funding would come out of the Fiscal Sustainability Reserve, also known as the rainy day fund.

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Nenshi, whose own roof is in need of repair after the June 2020 hailstorm, said the city is stepping in to help homeowners on a larger scale than they could do individually.

“(Disasters) end up costing homeowners a lot, it just makes everybody’s insurance go up. And so this is something that the city felt that if we make a small investment to help people do this, it will keep costs down for everyone.”

Council will debate the program in May.

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