Home-renovation business down after B.C. cancellation
Renovation companies are seeing a sudden increase in cancellations this week after the B.C. government abruptly ended a home-renovation rebate program.
LiveSmart BC offered incentives to replace items like aging furnaces, install efficient windows, and perform other environmentally friendly renovations.
B.C. Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom announced Aug. 14 that the program — set to run for three years — had reached its three-year target of 40,000 home energy assessments in only 15 months.
"The $60-million program is now fully committed and as such, will no longer provide incentives to new participants," Lekstrom said in a release.
The LiveSmart program had business booming for Brian Strom, who owns a home-improvement business in Surrey, B.C.
On a large renovation, homeowners could save more than $2,000 but since the program was cancelled, customers have been cancelling, Strom said.
"All the home improvement companies are a little bit dismayed they ended it so soon," said Strom.
"If they are going to end it, I can appreciate that [but] give homeowners a little bit of notice. Say, 'hey, it's going to end in the next six months, so do it before it ends,'" he said.
One environmentalist said she believes cancelling the program was a bad decision.
"This is a program that is classic good, green stimulus. It's not only good for the environment … it saves money, it creates jobs, it actually stimulates the economy," said Tzeporah Berman, formerly of Greenpeace and now executive director of PowerUp Canada, an anti-global-warming organization.