The Hamilton Waterfront Trust had it’s first board meeting Tuesday since questions were raised about the trust following the shutdown of Sarcoa.
In July council approved the oversight of $15-million worth of waterfront construction projects to the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, giving the Waterfront Trust a 10% management fee. That’s been capped at $1.5 million. The projects will see the redevelopment of Piers 5 through 8.
The trust is an arms length agency with a mandate to help Hamiltonians connect with their waterfront, but it’s struggled to operate in the black. Last month we asked the city for more information about the contracts it has had with the trust and the money the trust has received. Today we received an email detailing some of those contracts; in 2014 council approved a proposal to hire the Hamilton Waterfront Trust to manage a number of projects including the installation of a sewer and pumping station valued at $2.7 million. According to the city, the trust received about $54,000 in management fees. But the trust’s financial statements for 2014 and 2015 show that it received $800,000 in fees related to the waterfront project. Financial statements for 2016 haven’t been made public yet. The city says its still working on providing specific details about the payments.
On top of project management fees it also receives $300 000 each year in public money to operate the outdoor rink. The trust will be appearing before council on October 4 to explain its finances over the past five years after Councillor Donna Skelly put forward a motion last month asking for the trusts financial statements and answers about the more than $300,000 in property taxes it owes the city. As well as the annulment of its charitable status after the CRA said it should have never been given that designation in the first place and where the money is coming from to pay for it’s $15 million legal battle with Sarcoa, the restaurant it shut down in July for unpaid rent.