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Roofs still tarped from Fiona left even more vulnerable as Hurricane Lee approaches

The demand for roofing services was already high before Fiona, but the post-tropical storm made it even worse, the Construction Association of P.E.I. says. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
The demand for roofing services was already high before Fiona, but the post-tropical storm made it even worse, the Construction Association of P.E.I. says. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

As Hurricane Lee makes its way toward the Maritimes this weekend, some homeowners on P.E.I. are still dealing with repairs related to Fiona almost a year ago.

The roof on Joseph Sammoun's home in Charlottetown is still covered with tarp after the post-tropical storm blew off many of its shingles last fall.

Insurance has approved Sammoun's claim, but he's on a wait-list with a contractor.

"If there's another heavy rain or hurricane, the tarp might go off too," Sammoun said. "What we're going to do, I don't know."

Joseph Sammoun
Joseph Sammoun

Joseph Sammoun has been waiting almost a year for a contractor to fix his roof. (Laura Meader/CBC)

He's not alone.

Tarps can be seen on many roofs throughout P.E.I., and waits for repairs are often long because the Island doesn't have enough skilled workers.

'It's been extreme'

Jeff MacLean of MacLean's Roofing said about 75 per cent of his clients are still dealing with damage from Fiona.

"It's been extreme, and you feel bad for people, you know, that can't get done."

MacLean said he's worried what another hurricane season could bring. He said if he could, he'd hire 10 more workers tomorrow.

Sammoun worries about what will happen to his tarped roof when Hurricane Lee arrives this weekend. (Laura Meader/CBC)

In the first months after Fiona, the Construction Association of P.E.I. helped people find contractors. They got thousands of calls, but general manager Sam Sanderson said not everyone could be helped.

"The demand was great pre-Fiona," he said. "Then Fiona happened and just set the industry back and created a situation nobody ever would have dreamed of."

Association urges people to watch out for scams

The desperate situation for workers has also led to construction scams. Sanderson said complaints at some point were "almost a daily occurrence."

Many homes on P.E.I. still have tarps on their roofs from post-tropical storm Fiona. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"People getting scammed, people getting ripped off and leaving deposits and people ghosting… and the quality of work hasn't been there as well," he said.

Sanderson urged people to be patient and careful, and do what they can to protect their properties as they wait.

MacLean said more extreme weather could cause even more destruction, leaving those whose roofs are already damaged extra vulnerable.

"It is scary because if we get hit again, we will just be overrun."