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Proposed pilot project could protect Calgary vehicles from winter wonderland

One city councillor is hoping to give citizens an option when they don’t have a garage space or a covered area to protect their vehicles on the driveway.

Coun. Shane Keating will present a notice of motion for approval at the June 8 Priorities and Finance committee meeting that would allow for a driveway cover pilot project in Calgary neighbourhoods.

In the notice of motion, Keating referred to “unpredictable, extreme and costly” damage due to weather. He referenced the June 2020 hailstorm that pummelled northeast and southeast Calgary caused $1.4 billion in damage to cars and homes.

Roughly $800 million of that damage was done to roofing and the sides of houses in those areas. In March, Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal proposed a rebate to city homeowners whose property was damaged. This would allow them to upgrade their shingles.

Ward 12 Councillor Shane Keating is moving in a similar direction. This time the focus is on severe winter storms and the effects they may have on people’s vehicles and property.

The temporary driveway covers pilot project

The pilot project proposal would involve 10-30 households or businesses that are willing to participate. These participants must all live in close proximity to each other.

Garage covering option? SHELTERLOGIC.CA WEBSITE

The design must be unified across the different households, and all will be anchored to the ground to withstand heavy snowfall and strong winds. Right now, City of Calgary regulations state that a carport larger than 107 square feet must have a permit. Temporary tent garages don’t require a building permit, but they must follow location and design rules.

The pilot project is aiming to reduce the impact severe cold weather events have on cars and property. This is mainly for houses that do not have a garage or other means of protecting vehicles, Keating said.

Councillor Keating said that the idea was presented to him by one of his constituents who moved to Calgary from Quebec. Driveway covers are allowed there to protect vehicles from severe cold, but when the former Quebec resident looked into the matter here, they were met with disappointment Keating said.

“They went to the city asking if they could place a cover on their driveway like they used to. The city looked into it and got back to them saying ‘no it’s against the bylaw.’ The only way to get around that is a pilot project,” Keating said.

He hopes this will be a boon for individuals who are at a disadvantage by not having a garage.

“Some neighbourhoods don’t have garages or even an alleyway, only a front driveway,” he said.

“We’re also seeing an uptick in home-based businesses where the garages are used as a base of operations. They have a front driveway, but no way to keep their vehicle out of the winter elements.”

Possible negative impact

While the pilot project hopes to lessen the impact of severe weather on Calgarians, these covers can negatively impact the community.

Councillor Keating said that the covers may be an eyesore for some in the community. Additionally, they may obstruct the views of people who are trying to back out of their driveways, making it more dangerous.

There is a planned survey hoping to analyze the impacts of the driveway covers. The pilot project would report back to council in the second quarter of 2022.

These temporary driveway covers are only meant to be in place from November to April, with no intention of them being used in hail defence.