Council members tour storm-ravaged northeast Calgary communities
CALGARY -- Many northeast Calgary homes and cars are still severely damaged as residents continue to wait for insurance claims stemming from a powerful June hailstorm to be resolved four months later.
The powerful June 13 storm caused about $1.5 billion in damage to northeast neighbourhoods of the city, impacting tens of thousands of residents in the middle of a global pandemic.
Councillor George Chahal, who represents many of those most severely impacted by the storm, called on all levels of government to review its responses to the storm.
"The northeast shared in Calgary's economic pain long before COVID," Chahal said in a release, "and in the midst of the pandemic, the area suffered another devastating blow from this hailsorm.
"I've heard so many stories over the last number of days and weeks, where some folks feel they're being treated unfairly by some of those insurance companies."
Chahal spent Thanksgiving Monday afternoon, along with Mayor Nenshi, taking Calgary councillors on a walking tour of the area so that they might witness firsthand the scope of the damage.
The province said it will help cover the costs of any homes that suffered overland flooding, but hail damage falls to insurance companies.
That didn't sit well with Nenshi, who said, "for the (provincial) government to say, 'listen, if you don't have insurance, it's not our problem - and even if you did have insurance and you were trying to navigate the system, we're not really there to help you' - it's not fair."
Nenshi said he believed there has been a lack of action by other levels of government, adding he has often speculated whether it's due to the demographic of people in the hardest-hit communities, many being new Canadians or people of colour.
"I would prefer not to believe that's true," Nenshi said, "but at the same time, I do wonder whether that plays a part in that."
In August, Premier Jason Kenney said he would not be letting insurance companies off the hook, with the province spending money on the taxpayer's dime, to help fix incurable costs such as siding roofing, windows and vehicles.
"The province cannot become everyone's insurance company," Kenney said, on Aug. 11.
Resident Louie Adriano wh said his his home has suffered more than $20,000 in damages, had a different problem.
"Now we're still waiting for dates for the contractors to fix the house," said Adriano. "They gave us the money and then it's up to us to get the contractor to do it or find someone else."
Adriano's home still has broken windows, and damaged siding, while his son's car is a complete write-off.
The June 13 storm was the fourth costliest storm in Canadian history, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The most expensive on record is the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, costing almost $4 billion. The 2013 southern Alberta flood that devastated Calgary, and surrounding communities, was pegged at $3.5 billion.