Aquatarium facing more red ink

The Brockville Aquatarium at Tall Ships Landing on Friday, July 20, 2018. The attraction's board of directors will ask council for another $200,000 on Tuesday night to cover a projected shortfall in operations. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

BROCKVILLE – After blasting out the gates in 2016 with people through the front door, the Brockville Aquatarium has been having trouble covering operations, a trend that may continue this fall.

In a report to council for Tuesday night (July 24), the Aquatarium board of directors is anticipating another shortfall is operations between $200,000 and $250,000.

The City of Brockville has already chipped in a total of $400,000 for the not-for-profit attraction on Broad Street. Council gave $200,000 in December. Another $200,000 was handed over in the spring after a $400,000 request in April.

Now, the board will ask council for another $200,000 and will have an “immediate internal review” to find the other $50,000 to replace that shortfall or reduce expenses. It needs the money sometime in September or October.

This fall’s anticipated loss will depend largely on the number of people through the gates – generally considered a slow period for the Aquatarium. The report states the facility is at 89 per cent of revenues from last year at this point, largely because it’s been able to make up the loss through rentals and camp programs.

Attendance this year is around 73 per cent of 2017 numbers – “a decline that was not unanticipated,” the report states.

Board chairman Jeremy Hobbs will outline the fiscal forecast in more detail Tuesday night and the request when council meets at 5 p.m. at city hall.