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Calgary city council votes to end Resilient Roofing Program

Damage from a devastating hailstorm on June 13, 2020 can be seen along Saddlemont Close. Global News / Carolyn Kury de Castillo

A City of Calgary program aimed at giving homeowners a rebate to install impact-resistant roofing following a June 2020 hailstorm is coming to an end.

Late Tuesday, city council voted against recommendations from committee that would see the program extended so remaining applications could be reviewed for homeowners who replaced their roof due to damage from the back-to-back hailstorms in 2020 and 2021.

Those amended recommendations from Ward 5 councillor Raj Dhaliwal at the city’s community development committee asked administration to determine how much money would be needed to rebate those remaining homeowners and to find a source for that funding.

Those recommendations were defeated in a vote of six to nine, with just Mayor Jyoti Gondek and councillors Dhaliwal, Gian-Carlo Carra, Evan Spencer, Kourtney Penner and Richard Pootmans voting in favour.

The program offered a $3,000 rebate to homeowners who experienced hail damage and have replaced their roof with a certified Class 4 impact-resistant material.

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Homeowners also had to use a contractor that is a member of a roofing association and had to be up to date on their property taxes.

Read more: Calgary city committee to decide future of Resilient Roofing Rebate program

According to a city report, $3.35 million in rebates had been awarded to 1,073 homes across the city to date.

There was also another $1 million set aside for 308 pre-approved applications for roof replacements.

Click to play video: 'Calgary city committee to decide future of Resilient Roofing Rebate program' Calgary city committee to decide future of Resilient Roofing Rebate program
Calgary city committee to decide future of Resilient Roofing Rebate program – Apr 18, 2022

City administration’s original recommendation was to end the program “when the existing funding is depleted.”

“I believe we were very clear in our messaging that this is a first come, first served basis,” Kris Dietrich with city building services told council. “It has been far more successful that we imagined.”

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The program became oversubscribed earlier this year, and the city was forced to create a waitlist on Feb. 18. City administration told council that officials ensured wait-listed applicants knew the program was running out of funding.

City administration said rebates were handed out in every ward across the city.

Read more: Oversubscribed Calgary resilient roofing rebate provides 3:1 benefit: study

Ward 3 councillor Jasmine Mian said she originally wanted to see the program extended, but felt an extension would create new expectations for homeowners with applications waiting to be reviewed.

“There was this notion at committee that this program is sort of helping the little guy,” Mian told council.

“The challenge with this program is the resilient roofing materials, even with the rebate, are still more expensive than the other types of materials, which would mean that if you’re really truly making a decision on the margins — as people who don’t have the funds are doing — this wouldn’t help you.”

Dietrich told council that the city only required proof of hail damage from the 2020 hailstorm for homeowners to receive the rebate during the first phase of the program.

“When we opened up the program in January of this year to more people than who were impacted by 2020, we no longer asked for any information related to hail damage,” Dietrich said.

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Dietrich told council that there were 1,100 people on the wait list and, if the extension was approved, the city would need to reach out to about 400 homeowners individually and ask for information “that wasn’t originally a requirement of the program.”

Dietrich said the city would have to go back on its original first come, first served approach and hand-pick homeowners out of that remaining group.

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

Penner, who represents Ward 11, said she was concerned some impacted homeowners would be left behind if the program wasn’t extended.

“Customers that may have been affected by a hailstorm needed time to save money in order to replace their roof,” she said.

“This is a highly inequitable program and I wish that was something that would have been caught when it was first designed. I think we have an opportunity to right a wrong here.”

It remains unclear how much money remains to fund the program.

City administration said it is working on changes to the building codes to require resilient building materials, but the next review of the provincial building codes isn’t until 2026.

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—with files from Adam Toy, Global News

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