NDP calls for probe into Global Transportation Hub land deal
Questions are being raised about the price tag for a piece of land the Saskatchewan government purchased to make way for the new Regina bypass.
The parcel of land was initially owned by a group of nuns, who were threatened with expropriation by the government. The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure pegged the value of the land at $35,000 an acre, while officials at the adjacent Global Transportation Hub thought it could be worth up to twice that amount.
Speculators moved in and bought the land from the nuns, and the government ended up paying $103,000 an acre. All told, the province paid more than $21 million for the 205-acre parcel, said Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative Leader Rick Swenson.
“There were a number of land flips that brought that price up,” Swenson told CTV News.
The Global Transportation Hub handled the transaction, and sold the land back to the government for half of what it had just paid for it.
The Opposition NDP is wondering what's going on.
"We have a government that has paid at least three times more than they should of in this case, wasting millions of dollars, which is something all Saskatchewan people should care about," said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon.
However, Bill Boyd, the minister who spearheaded the deal, insists “there was nothing inappropriate done in any fashion at all.”
A review by Saskatchewan’s conflict of interest commissioner found that Boyd did not use his position to further private interests.
The NDP is asking the conflict of interest commissioner and the provincial auditor to investigate how the land purchase was handled.
Based on a report by CTV Regina’s Wayne Mantyka