Calgary ends resilient roofing rebate program

Houses were still being repaired in northeast Calgary in 2021, a year after the devastating June 2020 hailstorm. KIRSTEN PHILLIPS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

When the cash runs out, so too will the city’s resilient roofing rebate.

Councillors voted down a plan Tuesday that would have seen the city explore how many waitlisted applicants for the subsidy program were on the list that had already replaced their roof.

They would then determine the cost and a potential funding source for the $3,000/home rebate.  The rebate was put in place after a devastating June 2020 hailstorm. The idea was to encourage rebuilding homeowners to consider a more hail-resistant roofing material.

This extension of the plan got a bit of a bumpy ride at a city committee before making its way to Calgary city council.

Ward 3 Coun. Jasmine Mian said on Tuesday that she initially supported the request for information.  After the initial committee meeting, she went back to review the public communication from the city.

“It was really clear from, certainly from administration, that there was a finite pool of money for this” Mian said.

“When I heard these things come up about expectations, then I thought, ‘oh, I think we’re actually going to go out and set an expectation with this particular direction.”

She said that the city had already extended the program and expanded the pot of money.

City officials confirmed that they’d have to contact more than 400 homeowners to check the status of their roof. From there, they’d have to select refund recipients.

“As much as I would love to continue to expand this program, I just don’t think that it’s the right thing at this time,” said Mian.

Kris Dietrich with the city’s building services said they still have applicants coming in. But he believes they’ve been clear about the end of the program.

Picking winners and losers

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said this was a rebate program. Many of the homeowners would have had to save for their portion of the roof replacement.

“This is a highly inequitable program,” Penner said.  

“I wish that is something that would have been caught when it was first designed. I think we have an opportunity to right or wrong here and understand that there are people who not for lack of want or will have needed some time to be able to get things in order to replace a roof and we should be strongly considering the equity of a program and a program delivery.”

The measure, introduced by Ward 5 Coun. Raj Dhaliwal, was voted down 6-9.

Councillors then voted to end the program, as intended, when available money was fully allocated.

In the first year, council provided $5.4 million for the program. To date, the program helped 562 homes hit by the 2020 storm and 511 from 2021 events.

About Darren Krause 1189 Articles
Journalist, husband, father, golfer, writer, painter, video gamer, gardener, amateur botanist, dreamer, realist... never in that order.

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