NDP says it would fund roofing rebates for Calgary hailstorm damage

The pledge comes as the City of Calgary’s resilient roofing rebate program runs out of funds with more than 1,500 applicants still on a waitlist

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NDP Leader Rachel Notley promised Thursday that if her party is elected in the next election, every Calgary household that sustained severe damage in the 2020 hailstorm will get help, while also calling for more action from the UCP government.

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The pledge comes as the City of Calgary’s resilient roofing rebate program runs out of funds with more than 1,500 applicants still on a waitlist. The program, designed to provide $3,000 rebates to residents who replace damaged roofs with hail-resistant materials, was available to residents impacted by the June 2020 hailstorm first, before opening to eligible residents whose homes were hit by subsequent hailstorms.

Just over 1,000 households have received the rebate and another 308 are pre-approved. The rebate program was oversubscribed, however, and 1,574 applicants are stuck on a waitlist.

The city’s executive committee voted this week to further discuss the future of the program and possibly direct administration to look into an extension to support those who have already replaced their roofs with the costly Class 4 materials and were depending on the rebate.

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“If I am elected premier in the next election, our NDP government will provide the money for the city to help every eligible household get a hail-resistant roof,” Notley said.

“This is a no-brainer for me. Providing money for people to better protect their homes proactively will save us money in the long-term.”

NDP Leader Rachel Notley and Calgary MLA Irfan Sabir attend a press conference at Genesis Centre Thursday.
NDP Leader Rachel Notley and Calgary MLA Irfan Sabir attend a press conference at Genesis Centre Thursday. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

The NDP is also committing to launch an independent task force to investigate the “skyrocketing premiums” that residents in northeast Calgary now face. The June 2020 hailstorm caused about $1.2 billion in insured damages, becoming the fourth-most-expensive natural disaster in Canadian history.

“This will provide recommendations to ensure those residents are getting adequate insurance coverage at a price that is reasonable and that they can afford,” Notley said during a press conference.

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NDP MLA Irfan Sabir said the situation for Calgary residents was made worse when the UCP government refused to use the Disaster Recovery Program to supplement the cost to fix the damage.

“And they refused to help people getting the run-around from their insurance company,” Sabir said.

Several days after the June 13, 2020, storm, Premier Jason Kenney announced the government would provide disaster relief funding for uninsurable loss and damage related to overland flooding — not hail, sewer backup or insurance deductibles.

It would have also been beneficial to residents whose first language isn’t English to have had a government-funded program to help them file their insurance claims, Notley explained.

“It’s also not acceptable that they’re not able to get the level of insurance payout that the disaster caused,” she said. “There is an opportunity for this government to do the right thing and I would urge them on behalf of the people of this area of the city, to take that opportunity.”

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Ward 5 Coun. Raj Dhaliwal put forward an amendment during the committee meeting to direct the city to look into an extension of the rebate program.

A home damaged by the hailstorm in Saddle Ridge.
A home damaged by the hailstorm in Saddle Ridge. Photo by Gavin Young /Postmedia

“This is a program that is helping the people of Calgary who still are still dealing with the aftermath of the 2020 hailstorm and who deserve all the support and resources to be able to fully recover,” he said.

“Whoever is willing to help, we are willing to take their help; if it’s the current government, if it’s any level of government. People need support because the cost of that hailstorm is still very much alive.”

Ricky Brar’s Calgary home was severely damaged by the 2020 hailstorm, costing his family more than $70,000 in repairs. He said at the NDP press conference that insurance has only covered $53,000 and he is one of the 1,500 people on the city’s rebate waitlist.

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“The 2020 hailstorm has caused so much stress for me and my family and it has cost us so much,” Brar said. “We could certainly use the help to protect our home and we are far from alone.”

City council will further discuss the rebate program’s future at the next combined council meeting on May 10.

— With files from Jason Herring
Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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