City plans to give out grants for hail-resistant roof repairs

Details about who will be eligible for the series of $2,000 grants, and how they’ll be distributed, will be discussed in April

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The city is preparing a grant program to help Calgarians pay to repair their roofs with more resilient materials.

Planning began after a massive hailstorm caused more than $1.2 billion worth of damage last June, mostly across northeast Calgary. City officials confirmed Tuesday that roof damage accounted for $800 million of the losses.

Coun. George Chahal said that could have been prevented if the homes were built better.

“We are in hailstorm alley. We will get hit, unfortunately, by another storm. And we have to be better prepared,” he said.

“The one thing we can do to ensure that these huge insurance losses do not continue to occur are to have a better, resilient roofing product.”

  1. Damaged homes in Saddleridge in Calgary on Thursday, June 25, 2020.

    Councillor calls for additional hailstorm relief, discussion on sustainable building

  2. Calgary ward 5 Councillor George Chahal speaks with media during a tour through one of the hail damaged neighbourhoods of his ward on Monday, October 12, 2020. Chahal is hoping to get more help for residents struggling to get their homes repaired as winter approaches. Gavin Young/Postmedia

    Hailstorm damage still a daily reality in northeast Calgary as winter approaches

The city is looking at offering $2,000 to homeowners to at least partly cover the cost of making sure their roofs better withstand damage from hail and other severe weather. Details about who will be eligible for the grants and how they’ll be distributed will be discussed in April.

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Council’s finance committee approved the program in principle on Tuesday.

Officials are looking at giving out 50 grants in each quadrant of the city, but Mayor Naheed Nenshi said it’s worth discussing whether just northeast Calgary should be prioritized at first, given the scope of the damage from last year’s storm.

The mayor added that it’s important to ensure contractors and roofers are familiar with sturdier roofing materials, and that it increasingly becomes the norm for homeowners to ask for them.

After the June 2020 hailstorm, the provincial government stepped in with disaster relief funding, but only covered uninsurable losses such as overland flooding. Hail and sewer backup damage was excluded because that coverage is considered readily available.

Chahal said more support from the province is still needed, as residents in his ward continue to rebuild.

“Unfortunately, the province could have and should have acted in providing a grant like this,” he said.

“I’m hoping that the provincial government sees the urgency of this initiative and would also support it through tax incentives or credits or a similar rebate program.”

Twitter: @meksmith

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