CBM taking next step to enhance Ontario pit

By |  May 12, 2017

From left: Mike Le Breton, land and resources manager at CBM Aggregates; Jennifer Bernard, lands coordinator for CBM’s Aggregates Division; and Kerry McLaven, Forests Ontario’s forest program manager at CBM’s Sunderland Pit, as 20,000 trees are planted through the Durham 5 Million Tree Program. Photo courtesy of CNW Group/Forests Ontario.

Canada Building Materials (CBM) joined forces with Forests Ontario, an organization focused on re-greening Ontario, Canada, through tree-planting efforts, to convert almost 25 acres of the restored Sunderland Pit (a sand and gravel operation) into native forest.

According to Forests Ontario, the first phase of the project will include the planting of 20,000 trees.

The particular 25-acre portion of the Sunderland Pit area involved in the Forests Ontario project has been gradually restored and rehabilitated through various projects to prevent soil erosion and to restore nutrients back into the soil, Forests Ontario says. This next planting project, being delivered under the Durham Region 5 Million Tree Program (5MTP), is the first of its kind under the program and will lead to the creation of a native forest, according to Forests Ontario.

5MTP was launched as part of the Durham Region Climate Change Local Action Plan, which established a series of key objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, including the planting of 5 million trees across Durham, Ontario, Canada’s eight municipalities by 2023.

“Our work centers on creating better communities and this project is a natural extension of that,” says Mike Le Breton, land and resource manager for CBM’s Aggregates Division. “The commitment that Durham Region and Forests Ontario have made toward helping the environment in the province is incredibly important, and businesses like ours have the opportunity to enhance those efforts through partnering opportunities such as this. Canada Building Materials is proud to add this to our legacy of land stewardship in the province of Ontario.”

Forests Ontario worked with CBM, which is part of the North American operations of Votorantim Cimentos, to identify almost 25 acres of the Sunderland site that was mined and rehabilitated more than 15 years ago – and is ideal for planting, as it is adjacent to a main roadway and multiple water sources.

“The conversion of this rehabilitated site into healthy forest is the first project of its kind under the Durham 5 Million Tree Program to be carried out, and we have a great partner in St. Marys who is working with us to apply the best science and make this project a success,” says Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “CBM has shown incredible leadership and demonstrated how the aggregates industry can contribute to building Ontario while also committing to a healthier future for the province. We hope that this project serves as an example of how to extend the life of aggregates sites beyond extraction and provide new value for our communities.”

According to Forests Ontario, the Sunderland Pit has provided raw materials for construction projects throughout the Greater Toronto area over the course of decades, including the iconic CN Tower.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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