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Calgary councillor calling for funding for homeowners for hail-resistant materials

Global News logo Global News 2020-07-15 Melissa Gilligan and Carolyn Kury de Castillo
a large brick building with grass in front of a house: Damage from a devastating hailstorm on June 13 can be seen along Saddlemont Close. © Global News / Carolyn Kury de Castillo Damage from a devastating hailstorm on June 13 can be seen along Saddlemont Close.

A Calgary councillor who represents northeast wards that suffered devastating damage during a June hailstorm will be putting forward a notice of motion on Monday asking for incentives for homeowners to use more hail resistant materials.

The powerful storm pounded homes, vehicles and crops across parts of southern Alberta, causing almost $1.2 billion in insured damage.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the hail, rain and wind that hit Calgary, Airdrie and Rocky View County on June 13 were part of the costliest hailstorm and the fourth most expensive insured natural disaster in Canadian history.

Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal posted the notice of motion to Twitter on Tuesday evening.

 

“The notice of motion is to look at two things: how can we help residents through these difficult times? Can we look at options, for example, like interest-free loans? And then how can we help build more sustainable communities and homes. As we rebuild these, let’s build to a better standard and look into incentives like tax credits or other incentives to help do that,” he told Global News.

Read more: Alberta government to offer disaster support following ‘tragic’ thunderstorm in Calgary and area

Chahal said he is looking for a collaborative approach between government, home builders and the  insurance industry. But he is also concerned about keeping homes affordable so he is proposing interest-free loans, rebates and tax credits. He hopes the incentives would prompt people to rebuild with more hail-resistant materials.

The motion calls for Calgary's mayor to look to other levels of government to help out with the incentive program.

“The ask in the notice of motion that we will be debating on Monday will be both orders of government, provincial and federal.  Also for them to look at their disaster relief and mitigation programs. What can we do better and how can we fill those gaps and learn from what’s happened so we are better prepared for tomorrow.” Chahal said.

He is also wants to open up a bigger discussion with the province regarding building codes and how homes are built in the future because this wasn’t the first costly storm to hit this area.

“We had one just a few years back and the houses were rebuilt and now we have seen a devastating storm this year and it’s had a tremendous impact throughout the ward," he said.  He points to incentives that might encourage a homeowner to move move from a vinyl siding to a cement or stucco option.

Read more: Northeast Calgary residents warned of fly-by-night contractors in wake of devastating hailstorm

Chahal said offering the incentives will ending up saving money in the long run.

“I think we all save long term as Calgarians and as Albertans through our insurance rates but really from the psychological impacts and the financial cost of these storms have on families.

"It’s been a tough year from the economy to COVID-19 and now to this massive hail storm. People are having a tough time. Nobody wants a handout," Chahal said.

Chahal is also asking for the city to do a  comprehensive debrief on how the June 13 storm affected city infrastructure like that flooding that shut down parts of Deerfoot Trail the left cars partly underwater.

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