COMMENTARY: Why does Hamilton council ‘protect’ the Waterfront Trust?

Hamilton councillor lashes out at critic of the Waterfront Trust.
Hamilton councillor lashes out at critic of the Waterfront Trust. AM900CHML

What is it about the Waterfront Trust that sends Hamilton city councillors into attack mode any time someone dares to question the financial viability or business operations of the trust?

It happened again last week when Coun. Jason Farr, who sits on the Waterfront Trust, opined in a long and meandering soliloquy, that the only reason anyone would question the Waterfront Trust was because it was a slow summer for local news.

READ MORE: No longer a charity, Hamilton Waterfront Trust updates website after lengthy delay

Farr seems oblivious to matters such as LRT, a nasty stadium lawsuit and an OMB hearing about council’s woeful handling of the ward boundary issue, but let’s set that egregious oversight aside for the time being and concentrate on the Waterfront Trust.

They owe back taxes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars; not the first time that they’ve had a run-in with the Canada Revenue Agency.

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They’re involved in a major lawsuit over the Sarcoa Restaurant debacle and there continues to be concerns about shoddy bookkeeping and  a lack of transparency.

READ MORE: Latest dispute at Hamilton waterfront venue leaves customers in limbo

Yet any time anyone questions the trust, councillors defend the trust in the same way a mama bear protects her cubs.

To paraphrase Will Shakespeare, they doth protest too much!

The way that council glosses over these issues makes you wonder if the bigger problem here isn’t the Waterfront Trust, but the attitude of city council itself.

Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML and a commentator for Global News.

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