City of Calgary explores incentives for hail-resistant building materials

Storm mitigation, including a roof rebate program, is up for debate at a city priorities and finances committee meeting in Calgary on Tuesday.

Read more: Calgary council urges action for hail-damaged northeast

The meeting follows a June 13 storm in northeast Calgary that caused at least $1.2 billion in insured damages, making it the fourth-most expensive insured natural disaster in Canadian history.

“Our front of the house was obliterated. All the windows, everything was shattered.

“All of a sudden, it was shredded,” described Saddle Ridge resident Jason Fisher.

Less than a month after the storm, Calgary city council passed a motion, from area councillor George Chahal, that aims to respond to the lessons learned from the storm.

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The motion called on the city to explore what it could do to help mitigate the impact of severe weather in Calgary in the future.

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City administration is asking a city committee to endorse a number of recommendations, including the development of a resilient roofing rebate program.

The incentive would provide Calgarians with a $2,000 rebate for roof replacement costs when installing impact-resistant materials. For the average Calgary home, the increase in cost to replace a roof with an impact-resistant material, such as a class IV asphalt shingle over a more conventional product, is approximately $6,000 or four dollars per square foot.

Read more: Calgary councillor calling for funding for homeowners for hail-resistant materials

That kind of incentive, however, would be too late for most northeast homeowners whose roofs were high on their repair list following last June’s storm.

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“A lot of folks already got their roofs done,” said Fisher, now a member of the grassroots Hailstorm Action Committee.

“There’s so many folks in our area that either upgraded with Hardie Board or got a different outer shell to their houses… I don’t think a lot of them got any benefit for doing that either, other than the fact that they’re going to be safe, they’re going to be secure.”

“God forbid, if an event like this happens, the damage will be lessened to the outside of their place of residence.”

Read more: Severe weather events worsening in Calgary, hail suppression expert says

Administration recommends identifying so-called “hail zones” in Calgary — areas more frequently hit by severe storms — and mandating impact-resistant roofing and siding materials in those areas.

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The reports also suggests exploring the installation of a hail monitoring network in Calgary with the potential to extend it into areas west of the city as a possible early warning system.

Watch: Calgary ‘hail convoy’ demands financial assistance following devastating June storm

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