20,000 trees planted at Sunderland Sand and Gravel Pit

Township office

What was once a sand and gravel pit will, in the coming years, be transformed to healthy greenspace following the planting of 20,000 trees earlier this year.

At Monday’s (Oct. 2) Council meeting, Kerry McLaven of Forests Ontario and Mike LeBreton of CMB Aggregates discussed the rehabilitation of a 10-hectare piece of property at the Sunderland Sand and Gravel Pit. 

The sand and gravel pit has been operational since 1958, Council heard, but this particular parcel of land has been essentially untouched for the past 15 years. During that time, natural grass has grown on the land, laying the ground work for the rehabilitation process as dictated in the site plan agreement with the Township.

“Our company is dedicated to the rehabilitation piece just as much as we are to the mining piece,” said LeBreton, before McLaven started addressing the specifics of the rehabilitation project.

McLaven described the land as “very grassy” and noted their objective was to establish a natural tree species on the site, which will, among other benefits, improve the health of the soil. She says the expected survival rate of these trees is lower which is why they’ve planted the the trees at a higher than usual density. 

Moving forward, McLaven says there will be a survival assessment this Fall, a second assessment in the Fall of 2018 and a final assessment in 2021. Beyond that assessment, LeBreton is unsure of what the future holds for the land.

In response to a question from Councillor Therese Miller, regarding whether this land would remain private or potentially be transformed into public parkland, LeBreton said CBM owns the property but could not confirm future plans. He did note that it is not the practice of the company to hold onto properties for excessively long periods of time following the completion of the rehabilitation.

Commending the project, councillors asked McLaven if there were any similar projects on the horizon in Brock Township. 

McLaven says Forests Ontario is currently in discussions with Durham Region regarding what she believes was formerly a landfill site in Brock Township, although should declined to provide specifics. For residents, Forests Ontario also offers a tree planting subsidy for the Durham Region 5 Million Trees Program.

“Forests Ontario supports landowners across the province through the administration of the Ontario government’s 50 Million Tree Program but for landowners in the Durham Region, there’s extra incentive to help us reach that goal. The eight local municipalities of Durham Region are offering additional tree planting subsidies and support for public and private landowners as part of The Durham Region 5 Million Tree Program,” reads the Forests Ontario website.

For more information about applying for this subsidy, residents are encouraged to contact Forests Ontario by calling 1-877-646-1193, emailing info@forestsontario.ca or visiting www.forestsontario.ca