The Hamilton Waterfront Trust posted another operating loss this time of $340,000 for the year 2020. This despite the fact that in April. the agency was awarded an additional $800,000, against the advice of staff, for its work overseeing Pier 8 projects.
For several consecutive years the HWT has struggled with operating losses that have rendered the organization dependent on work projects provided by the city. The HWT got a bit of a windfall when it sold its lease on the Discovery Centre back to the city for $2.6 Million. The terms were that the city would pay the note off at $230,000 per year. But then the city had to pick up the tab on the $769,000 legal tab the HWT incurred in its lawsuit with Sarcoa. The city is deducting about $70,000 per year from the annual payment until it has recovered its costs. Without the note payable by the city to the HWT, the agency is effectively insolvent.
The financial showed a more than 50 percent drop in sales at the Williams Café due to COVID, that produced a loss of more than $100,000, but this was offset by government COVID assistance of more than $340,000.
Audit Finance and Administration Committee member Brad Clark wanted to know why salaries had jumped by 19 percent, but there was no one from the Waterfront Trust on hand to answer his questions, something Clark suggested should be addressed in future. In its dealings with council over the years the Waterfront Trust has typically appeared as a walk-on, meaning there is no presentation provided in advance for councillors to study.
Without expressing an opinion, the Waterfront Trust’s auditors, in this years cover letter, mentioned that one of the duties of an auditor is to determine whether the entity can be considered a going concern from a financial perspective.