Rebates given to 1,073 homeowners as part of Calgary roof rebate program

The City of Calgary's roof rebate program has now exhausted its funds to help cover some costs of replacing roofs damaged by hail, but questions remain as to how to handle the applications still pending.

Council to discuss how to handle remaining applications as funding now exhausted

Residents in northeast Calgary experienced a major hailstorm in 2020 that damaged homes and flooded streets. The City of Calgary's resilient roofing rebate program has now been fully subscribed. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The City of Calgary's roof rebate program has now exhausted its funds to help cover some costs of replacing roofs damaged by hail, but questions remain as to how to handle the applications still pending.

Kris Dietrich with building services told the city's executive committee on Tuesday that the program has been "incredibly popular" and had exceeded the city's expectations.

"The program has accomplished its goals of educating Calgarians on the benefit of resilient roofing materials, and supporting them [the public] in building more resilience in the city against environmental risks," he said.

The rebates were given to 1,073 homeowners in the first year of the program, largely in the areas of the cities hit hard by hailstorms in recent years.

Dietrich said 1,574 additional applications had been received that current funding would not cover. 

"This number continues to grow on a weekly basis," Dietrich said.

Pending applications

Ward 5 Coun. Raj Dhaliwal said many people in his ward as still struggling to recover from the 2020 hailstorm, which caused extensive damage in the community.

"We have 1,574 applications. I think, as a leadership, we should honour what we say we would do," he said.

"I know it's going to cost money, but it's not always about money, money, money. It's sometimes also about people, people, people."

Dhaliwal suggested the city stop taking new applications but look for money to seek rebates for those who had already applied, adding he would like an estimate on how much that would cost.

Coun. Andre Chabot says the city should again approach the federal and provincial governments instead of funding a roof rebate program itself. (CBC)

Coun. Andre Chabot said his challenge with Dhaliwal's amendment was in regards to the municipal government stepping into areas that were not its responsibility, suggesting the city seek funding from the federal and provincial governments instead.

"The biggest problem with this recommendation is that it doesn't actually help the people that need help," said the Ward 10 councillor.

"In the report, it does indicate that it's only those people who have the financial means to replace their roof that are eligible to get this rebate. There's so many people out there that can't afford to replace their roof, let alone get a rebate."

Chabot said he would not support the amendment, suggesting that to finance extending the program would mean tapping reserves.

Ward 12 Coun. Evan Spencer, meanwhile, said he would support the amendment with a goal to "do right" by Calgarians who had made long-term financial decisions.

"I resonate with Coun. Dhaliwal's plea that we don't leave residents in Calgary in a lurch that have made financial decisions for the future of their household based on a program that they believe would soften that," he said.

The committee voted 10-2 in favour of Dhaliwal's amendment, with Chabot and Coun. Peter Demong of Ward 14 voting against.

It will go to the next council meeting in May for further discussion.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said Dhaliwal had raised some interesting questions for the upcoming meeting.

"I'm looking forward to the debate that council will have," she said.

With files from Scott Dippel