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Committee approves plan to examine the cost of rebate for roof-committed Calgary homeowners

Calgary’s Executive Committee has approved a potential plan to look at limited additional funding for resilient roofing rebate applicants.

The committee received an update on the program Tuesday. City administration recommended that the program end once existing cash was exhausted.

The program was in place to aid Calgary homeowners hit hard by a June 2020 hailstorm, who were willing to upgrade to hail-resistant roofing. Currently, there are roughly 1,575 people on the waitlist.

Ward 5 Coun. Raj Dhaliwal put forward an amended set of recommendations that he said would honour the city’s initial commitment.

Dhaliwal wanted an updated report to see how many people are on the waiting list. He also wanted to know how many of those have already replaced their roofing material, contingent on the potential city funding.

“The scars of the 2020 hailstorm, they’re still evident. At least in Ward 5 people are still struggling to get their insurance claims, they’re still working with insurance companies to get claims and they are still figuring out if they’re going to be accessing this program,” he said.

“If we’re going to put an end to this right now, they may be left stranded with no help from the city.”

Dhaliwal wanted to identify the total rebate cost to homeowners that have already replaced their roofing. In addition, he’d like to see what the cost would be to cover those remaining rebates, along with a potential funding source.

He’d also like to end the rebate application intake.

Winners and losers?

Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean said he felt as though this lottery-type system picked winners and losers. Still, he supported it after seeing how many Ward 13 residents applied.

Later, it was clarified that it was a first-come, first-served application system. All applicants were then reviewed for eligibility.

City administration said that it would likely cost at least $5 million to cover the cost of all 1,500+ waitlist applicants.

Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot said that he’d like to see the city once again look to the province or feds to provide the cash.

“I think we are delving into an area that’s not a municipal responsibility and provincial government and the federal government have already, well, the provincial government said no,” Chabot said.

“I think we should go back to them and say, ‘Listen, there’s been a huge uptake. Huge need. You guys need to step up.’”

The revised set of amendments was approved 10-2 at committee. Couns. Chabot and Peter Demong were opposed.

It still needs final approval at the May 10 combined meeting of council.