A City of Calgary program aimed at giving rebates to homeowners who upgrade their roof with more hail-resistant building materials is set to come to an end, pending a vote by city council.
The city’s executive committee is expected to receive an update on the program on Tuesday, which includes a recommendation from administration for city council to approve the completion it “when the existing funding is depleted.”
According to a city report, $3.35 million in rebates have been awarded to 1,073 homes across the city to date.
There is also another $1 million set aside for 308 pre-approved applications for roof replacements.
Most of the applications came from neighbourhoods in the northeast and southeast impacted by hailstorms over the last two years, according to a map included in the city report.
“I’m excited to see more people choose this option,” Ward 12 Coun. Evan Spencer said. “Unfortunately, unless something changes, we likely won’t be offsetting the costs in the way we have been.”
Work on the Resilient Roofing Rebate program was kicked off by the previous city council and then-Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal in response to the June 2020 hailstorm.
According to the City of Calgary, $800 million of the total $1.4 billion in damages caused by that hailstorm was damage to roofs.
The program offers a $3,000 rebate to homeowners who experienced hail damage and have replaced, or plan to replace their roof with a certified Class 4 impact-resistant material.
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.
According to Chelsea Broadbridge with the Alberta Allied Roofing Association, the program has met its goal of raising awareness to using more resilient building materials and certified contractors.
“No one would’ve thought this program would’ve seen the success that it saw,” Broadbridge said. “It’s just astronomical to see the number of applications, the number of questions, all the interest surrounding our trade that we’ve never seen before.”
According to a study from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR), the benefits outweigh the costs to install resilient roofing in an area prone to hail.
But a report from city administration said it would not seek further funds for the program once the initial funding of $5.25 million runs out.
Administration listed several reasons, including the program’s goal of educating Calgarians on the benefits of resilient building materials has been met, and that it is disaster-type funding that is “more appropriately funded by provincial and federal governments.”
According to the report, there are around 1,574 applications that will not be reviewed due to the depletion of funding, and it’s estimated it would cost up to $5 million to award rebates to the applications that are eligible.
That has raised concerns that some homeowners in need of the funding are being left behind.
“I really wish they could’ve got to everyone that applied for the rebate,” Noshy Karbani said. “Those people that actually did apply, I feel they should honour that… If they qualify they should get it.”
Hail damage forced Noshy and her husband Khalil Karbani to repair their roof twice, which included an upgrade to a impact resistant material.
Once the program was open for applications, they applied for a rebate after the work had been completed.
“It was nice to get most of that back from the city,” Karbani said. “It was very helpful.”
According to city administration, work is ongoing with the provincial government to support the use of impact-resistant materials in new construction projects, a change that is expected in 2026.
“We are certainly trying to incentivize the development community to make certain decisions about the kind of building materials that they use,” Spencer said. “Ensuring that new housing stock is using more of this resilient material, ultimately for the long-term financial resiliency of our city.”
–with files from Global News’ Adam Toy
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