Discovery ends 2020 with balanced books, 660 visitors

Don Clark and Richard Poore work on the Fitzgerald Rig at Petrolia Discovery one of the major projects at the historic site.

Heather Wright/The Independent

It was a challenge, but the Petrolia Discovery Foundation ended 2020 without a deficit.
The historic site has been undergoing major changes since 2017 when a transitional board took over, according to Chairman Richard Poore.

The group has been repairing the buildings on site and setting a direction for the future. But, like every organization, COVID-19 threw a curveball into the plans.

The year-end financial documents presented at the recent Annual General Meeting show the foundation had to defer payments to a loan from the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation which was secured to keep the operation going prior to 2017.

During the pandemic, the federal government made it possible to defer loan payments, something the organization did for five months. That means the foundation will carry the debt for two extra years.

But it also allowed the organization to stay on budget for 2020.

And Poore told people at the virtual AGM, Discovery was even able to host 660 visitors with a pandemic friendly self-guided tour. “As we move forward and continue to improve and enhance the site, the plan is to schedule more and more open days and other tours.”