Partnership with Nature Conservancy of Canada
MANITOULIN – Lafarge Canada has announced its key role in the massive conservation effort undertaken in the sensitive Great Lakes region as a partner with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
The NCC’s Manitoulin Island Vidal Bay Forests and Shoreline property acquisition is one of its largest-ever in Ontario. With a $16-million price tag, the initiative relied heavily on the support of many partners. Lafarge Canada provided a donation of $100,000, with additional planned support in future years to enhance the conserved land’s biodiversity and educational value. Lafarge Canada officials say they have also formed a new partnership for future years.
“This is a big land area now held in trust for nature by NCC,” explained Rob Cumming, head of environment and sustainability for eastern Canada with Lafarge. “It’s an area similar to 3,800 city blocks of forests, wetlands, and shoreline that the NCC will protect. Lafarge is using this opportunity to start a new relationship with the NCC and anticipates the organization will be a key contributor to its biodiversity efforts and sustainability strategy.”
“Yes, absolutely we are looking at a new partnership with NCC,” Mr. Cumming told The Expositor. “As a company we have nearly 45,000 hectares of land across Canada, and manage rural and quarry properties, and we recognize that we are a resource-based company and one way we can make a real benefit toward a sustainable world around us, is through benefitting biodiversity, preserving land and habitat.”
“The NCC brings to the table a lot of in-house experts who have tremendous knowledge about how to preserve land and habitat,” Mr. Cumming told The Expositor. “The Vidal Bay Forests and Shoreline property will be preserved for perpetuity and we want to help out where we can. For instance, if there are walking trails, maybe we could help provide gravel for these, as an example.”
“We might be able to do something with NCC and we have a global commitment to have a positive impact on preserving land, habitat and wildlife resources,” said Mr. Cumming.
Esme Batten, NCC program director for midwestern Ontario said, “we are very grateful for the support provided by Lafarge Canada for the Vidal Bay purchase, and we are looking forward to working together with them in the future.”
Covering 7,608 hectares (18,800 acres), the Vidal Bay Forests and Shoreline property connects with adjacent conservation lands to form a protected area of more than 248 square kilometres of forests, wetlands and shoreline, the largest of its kind south of the Canadian Shield area in Ontario. Lafarge has a nearby 1,640 hectare quarry in Meldrum Bay with two adjacent international shipping terminals.
“Lafarge’s sustainability initiatives extend beyond biological conservation programs and include recycling sand, gravel and concrete to conserve virgin resources and award-winning rehabilitation projects. As a member of the global group Holcim, the organization is driven by an overarching commitment to becoming a nature-positive company. The NCC partnership aligns with the launch of the company’s nature-positive strategy in September 2021, making them the first in the construction sector to commit to a measurable positive impact on biodiversity and the replenishment of freshwater in water-risk areas,” the NCC stated.
“We are excited about the future and a great opportunity to work with a great organization like NCC,” added Mr. Cumming.