The Aggregate Forum of Ontario
Pits, quarries and sustainability
Aggregate extraction – the development of gravel pits and quarries – is a significant land-use priority in southern Ontario. While we understand that demand for sand and gravel, used to build roads and other types of infrastructure, is high in this part of the province, we also know that large aggregate deposits often occur in important natural areas, such as the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment. The challenge is to balance the extraction of aggregate resources with the need to preserve Ontario's biodiversity and natural capital by protecting and enhancing the integrity of our natural heritage and hydrological systems.
Aggregate Forum of Ontario
In partnership with senior representatives of the aggregate industry and other environmental organizations, Ontario Nature founded the Aggregate Forum of Ontario (AFO). The primary goal of AFO is to deliver recommendations that will move industry towards an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable means of extracting this resource.
For more than three years, the AFO has been jointly developing a voluntary certification program for aggregate extraction that will establish clear standards for sustainability. Click here to read more about green certification for aggregates.
We are also working with municipalities and other stakeholders, in addition to the aggregate sector, to promote community-based approaches to planning for aggregate development. A key element of this work is looking at best practices for the ongoing rehabilitation of pits and quarries in order to better incorporate aggregate sites into natural heritage systems to expand habitat cores and corridors.
Ontario Nature’s publication, The Green Way Forward, is a comprehensive review of southern Ontario land-use policies, including those governing aggregate extraction. We continue to push for aggregate policy reform by participating in the current review of the Aggregate Resources Act and the upcoming reviews in 2015 of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, the Niagara Escarpment Plan and the Greenbelt Plan.
Members of the AFO:
- Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature
- Chris McGuckin, Lafarge Canada Inc.
- Debbe Crandall, STORM Coalition
- George Lourenco, Capital Paving Inc.
- John Moroz, CBM Aggregates
- John Riley, Nature Conservancy of Canada
- Ken Lucyshyn, Walker Industries Holdings Ltd.
- Moreen Miller, OSSGA
- Ric Holt, Gravel Watch Ontario
- Robert Patrick, Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment
- Ronald Reid, Couchiching Conservancy
- Ryan Essex, The Miller Group