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SoBi Hamilton draws ire of councillors after refusing to provide financial statements

SoBi Hamilton receives criticism from a city committee after refusing a financial audit request.
SoBi Hamilton receives criticism from a city committee after refusing a financial audit request. Tourism Hamilton

There are suggestions that the city seeks a new operator for its increasingly popular bike-share program.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson stresses that “we need to put this out for re-bid” after SoBi Hamilton denied the city’s request for a copy of its audited financial statements.

The public works committee has also been told that SoBi is not building a reserve fund to replace bicycles at end-of-life, and Ferguson says it all “sounds fishy to me.”

Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead tells committee members that he shares those concerns as he seeks to ensure “transparency” and “accountability” in all of the city’s partnerships.

READ MORE: SoBi Hamilton celebrates successful year

SoBi Hamilton notes that it is not required to provide a financial audit since it does not receive operational funding from the city.

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The local non-profit adds that the city’s contract is with Social Bicycles, a separate entity, through which SoBi is subcontracted to operate the system.

The city owns the bikes and stations, which were purchased through a $1.6-million-dollar Metrolinx grant.

Peter Topalovic, the city’s project manager, adds that SoBi is also under no obligation to build a bicycle replacement reserve.

After just two years of operation, SoBi Hamilton General Manager Chelsea Cox recently stated that they have over 12,000 active members.

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