Ontario – Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre Unable To Pay $1.4 Million In Tax And Rent

Hmmmm…this is interesting. A sign of the times?  Additional burden on the taxpayer.

Harbourfront Centre unable to pay $1.4 million in tax and rent, says City of Toronto staff report

The City of Toronto’s treasurer is recommending council approve writing off Harbourfront Centre’s outstanding $964,335 in rent and providing a $427,286 grant to go toward unpaid property taxes, the report said.

The city shouldn’t expect to collect any of the nearly $1.4 million a top cultural hub owes in rent and property taxes, says Toronto’s treasurer.

Despite attracting more than three million people a year to the city’s central waterfront, Harbourfront Centre faces rising operating costs, a $16 million repair backlog, no significant increases in support from public funders, declining corporate sponsorships and a lack of charitable donations, according to a staff report to be discussed at Tuesday’s government management committee meeting.

Treasurer Mike St. Amant is recommending council approve writing off Harbourfront’s outstanding $964,335 in rent for the city-owned Queens Quay West property and providing a $427,286 grant to go toward unpaid property taxes, the report said.

If approved, Harbourfront will be required at the end of 2018 to submit a business plan“demonstrating long term financial viability including an ability to pay all current year and future property taxes and debts to the city,” the report said.

The one-time relief will ensure Harbourfront can continue its programming — hosting 4,000 events and 30,000 school visits a year, said Councillor Joe Cressy (Trinity-Spadina), who sits on the board of directors.

“Harbourfront is a completely financially secure and strong organization,” Cressy said.

Part of the reason it is currently struggling to pay its property taxes is because it faced significant and unanticipated increases in recent tax reassessments for its underground parking lot, Cressy said. It is also applying for a charitable rebate, which will reduce its property tax by 40 per cent in future years.

Harbourfront’s annual budget is $34 million, with the city contributing $750,000 and the federal government $5 million, according to a 2017 staff report. About 60 per cent is earned from revenues, primarily from its three parking lots, and the rest comes from foundations, private sponsorship and fundraising. – Toronto Star

read full article here

…Harbourfront Centre faces rising operating costs, a $16 million repair backlog, no significant increases in support from public funders, declining corporate sponsorships and a lack of charitable donations…

Sounds like exactly what is likely to happen here with our proposed $40 million waterfront art gallery.  Whatever sources of funding the art gallery people are promising us taxpayers, none are guaranteed and almost certainly to decline or disappear completely.  In other words, the predicted business model of the proposed  $40 million waterfront art gallery is overly optimistic.  Crap.

We need to expect that the giant piles of that sweet, sweet taxpayer cash that will be given to that private run facility every year will increase….a lot.  Nobody seems to be talking about that.

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