To no one’s surprise the Hamilton waterfront has posted another financial loss–$225,000 on its annual operations for 2014. But the situation is worse as the agency has written off its investment in the Harbour Queen cruise boat; adding another $614,000 in red ink. The Harbour Queen accounts for a large chunk of the Waterfront Trusts’ accumulated losses. Between the $800,000 purchase price, accumulated losses on operations, repairs and deprecation, the Harbour Queen adventure alone accounts for close to $1.5 Million in accumulated losses.
The trust which started out with $6.3 million in cash back in 2002 received over $11 Million over the ensuing years in funding from senior governments, the city and the Hamilton Conservation Authority. Its financial statements showed that the HWT spent about $7.4 Million building trails and recreational facilities. Despite the $3.5 million book surplus, the agency’s assets have steadily declined. The HWT balance sheet shows $3 Million in capital assets, but most of that amount is tied up in leasehold improvements to the Williams Coffee Fresh operation. Leasehold improvements typically have limited value that would only be realized if the building were to be sold and then would typically be heavily discounted. Other than that the HWT assets consist of the trolley, a small tour boat, computers and furniture, with a total value of about $330,000.
The HWT appeared before city council earlier this year asking for an annual subsidy of $300,000. Since 2008 the HWT has posted losses in each of those years totalling $2.1 million