Residents of northeast Calgary have sent a letter to Alberta’s premier asking for provincial assistance in repairing the damages caused by a severe thunderstorm.
On June 13, a severe thunderstorm roared through the city with large hail pellets causing severe damage to structures, while heavy rainfall caused flooding in several areas.
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On Saturday, Khalil Karbani organized a meeting with dozens of residents that represent five community associations in the city, to discuss the next steps of recovery.
Karbani said both himself and his wife are out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and added many other homeowners in the area are in a similar position. He noted that some can’t afford out-of-pocket expenses for home damage in the form of deductibles or depreciation.
“We’ve had residents come to us to say the insurance company is only paying 20 per cent of the roof, which is $15,000, so they are really struggling to come up with the balance,” Karbani said.
“People have been out of work with oil prices and with COVID[-19] and a lot of people are going from paycheque to paycheque.
“Right now, we simply don’t have that extra eight or 10 or $12,000 to come up with.”
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After the weekend meeting, residents from Saddle Ridge, Skyview Ranch, Taradale, Martindale and North of McKnight Communities Society decided to send a letter to the premier requesting provincial aid — with hopes of also triggering federal assistance.
“For the [provincial government] to simply call it a natural disaster, the federal government can start putting this program in place and start supporting us financially to help us get through this,” Karbani said.
The letter dated June 21 to Premier Jason Kenney notes the severity and prevailing economic conditions contribute to an increased need for help for affected residents.
“It is simply not practical for the residents to recover from this disaster without significant support from their government,” the letter said.
“This storm has already been listed as the top storm in Canadian history in terms of damages — estimated at over $1 billion.
“It is under these circumstances that we, the undersigned, are requesting the government to immediately set up a disaster relief fund to help Albertans recover from this disaster at this extremely difficult time.”
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Dante Chavez is one resident feeling the financial strains of dealing with the damages caused by the storm.
Chavez said the siding and windows on his house in Saddle Ridge were torn apart by the large hail pellets, and all three of his family’s vehicles were damaged.
He noted that one of his cars doesn’t have hail insurance coverage, and to top it off, the rain from Sunday’s storm is now leaking in through his homes damaged roof.
“I checked it with my wife and it goes through to the basement from the chimney,” Chavez said.
Next door, Pamela Fischer had to throw out her carpets and her son’s mattress after hail broke through her window.
“The hail was so hard that things inside were dented, such as his laptop that was sitting on his bed,” Fischer said.
“A lot of people are really hurting in our community. People of been laid off and so to come up with that thousand dollar deductible or in some cases $3,500 deductible, that’s a lot.”
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The province says data is still being analyzed to determine if the storm damage qualifies for the Disaster Recovery Program which would assist in covering uninsurable costs.
“The government is continuing to determine whether or not this storm meets the threshold for a Disaster Recovery Program,” a spokesperson for Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu said in a statement to Global News on Monday.
“But for insurable damage, we fully expect insurers to step up and deliver for their clients, and it appears they are.”
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