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OSSGA Presents Rehabilitation, Community Relations Awards

Lafarge Canada’s Orillia Pit in the township of Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada, has received the Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association's (OSSGA) 2019 Progressive Rehabilitation Award, presented at OSSGA’s 2020 Conference and AGM in February.

From 2016 to 2019, the Orillia Pit has undergone a gradual rehabilitation with the intent to decommission the plant and the silt ponds and to rehabilitate the side slopes and the floor on the balance of the disturbed area of the site.

Ultimately, the goal is to return the lands to agricultural use. This work has taken place over 30 hectares of land split between an area north of the haul road where aggregate was fully exhausted and an area south of the haul road.

While original plans called for reforestation on the perimeter site slopes, consultations with local neighbors and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) determined it was better to maximize the agricultural land and instead grade the side slopes to a gentler 5:1 scale.

A total of 82,000 cu. metres of overburden and topsoil was removed, the soil was conditioned over a three-week period, then fertilized and seeded. The large portions of the site south of the haul road have been converted back to agriculture use and are being actively farmed.

"Having the Lafarge Orillia Pit chosen as the Judge's Choice in the Progressive Rehabilitation category for OSSGA Awards is a great accomplishment. We are honored to receive this recognition," said Bruce Willmer, LafargeHolcim vice president aggregates, Eastern Canada.

Walker Aggregates’ Severn Quarry in the township of Severn, Ontario, Canada, has received OSSGA's 2019 Community Relations Award, also presented at OSSGA’s 2020 Conference and AGM in February.

A number of factors make Severn Quarry a welcome member of its community. Staff employ equipment covers and Explotech technology to monitor and lessen the impacts of its operations, water the quarry’s roads and stockpiles regularly to mitigate dust, and follow strict traffic guidelines which are enforced by a retired police officer. Surrounding neighbors are also kept in the loop through numerous communication channels.

Regarding outreach, Severn Quarry hosts yearly Public Liaison Committee (PLC) events, local model airplane club meetings and student tours. The latter included two groups of Georgian College attendees who visited the quarry in September 2019 as part of their Earth Science program. Furthermore, the quarry donates in-kind and stone donations to local organizations such as the Coldwater Legion and The Sharing Place Food Centre in Orillia.

"Our philosophy at Walker Aggregates is to be the best possible neighbor in the communities in which we operate," said the company's Executive Vice-President Ken Lucyshyn. "We're very pleased to be recognized by our peers in the OSSGA for our community relations efforts at Severn Quarry.”

The OSSGA Industry Recognition Awards Program recognizes a wide range of activities that contribute to a progressive image of its member aggregate producers and the aggregate industry as a whole. A key goal is to raise the bar in the industry by highlighting operations that go above and beyond what is required by legislation.

“We encourage our members to be sound stewards of the lands on which they operate, and to be engaged and valued members of their community,” said Norm Cheesman, executive director of OSSGA. “All of the award winners this year have met and exceeded those expectations.”