Global Transportation Hub appoints new chair

The Opposition NDP says it still has many unanswered questions about what happened when, and who knew about Global Transportation Hub's controversial land deal.
The Global Transportation Hub (GTH) has seen a leadership change as chairperson Doug Moen’s term was cancelled by Saskatchewan’s Executive Council. File / Global News

The Global Transportation Hub (GTH) has seen a leadership change as chairperson Doug Moen’s term was cancelled by Saskatchewan’s executive council.

The move is not a surprise to Moen, who told GTH Minister Don Morgan he planned to resign as chairperson in July.

The change was announced in an order in council dated Nov. 1, 2018. That same order appointed board member Terry Baker of Saskatoon as the new chair.

Moen was appointed chair Nov. 28, 2016 and his term was originally scheduled to last until Nov. 2, 2019. According to the order, Moen will remain on the board until that date.

Moen said that he believes there should be a change in leadership from time to time.

READ MORE: GTH Minister says growing debt means an increasingly expensive potential sell-off

Land sales have been struggling at the GTH, there has not been a sale in two years, and debt has grown to around $37 million at the inland port. However, Moen said that did not play into his decision to step away.

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“No, I continue to believe in the potential of the GTH. This is just an opportunity to deal with other obligations in my work life,” Moen said.

Moen recently accepted a position as interim executive director at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina.

Baker has served on the GTH board since 2013. He has previously served as chair of Viterra and its predecessor, the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, from 2004-2009.

“I am honoured to accept this appointment,” Baker said in a statement. “The GTH is an important asset for the province and represents a unique opportunity for industry and government to collaborate and drive change. As a board, we intend to support growth and development opportunities that capitalize on the GTH’s access to transportation, industry and agricultural resources.”

Minister Morgan said that Baker was the Moen’s recommendation for his replacement.

“I don’t know Terry Baker really well, I’ve only met him a number of times, but he seems to understand the issues that are there. He’s been on the board for a number of years, so I think he’s a good choice,” Morgan said.

GTH critic Cathy Sproule said she would be curious to find out whether Moen’s resignation has anything to do with the government’s decision to divest from the GTH.

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Prior to Moen’s appointment, the minister responsible for the GTH served as board chair. At the time of the switch, Meadow Lake MLA and current Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison served as minister.  Prior to that, Bill Boyd served as the responsible minister.

READ MORE: GTH pays nearly $78,000 public subsidy for employee buses last year

Other GTH board changes saw one resignation finalized and a new appointee added.

Retired civil servant Nithi Govindasamy has been added to the board. He most recently served as deputy minister in Saskatchewan’s highways ministry, retiring in 2017. The Order in Council lists his current address as Sherwood Park, Alta.

This appointment raised the eyebrow of Sproule.

“Of interest to me also is that Mr. Govindasamy is on the board, who was deputy minister of highways during the time when [the ministry of] highways dropped the ball on the east parcels, plus we saw the [Regina] Bypass balloon to a $2 billion project,” Sproule said.

“That is something we will want to watch closely in terms of his role in the GTH.”

Cpt. Gordon Houston resigned from the board earlier this year. The Nov. 1 order officially cancelled his term.

All other board members have had their terms extended for another two or three years, depending on the member.