|Plant manager Lafarge Canada Inc. Brockville (Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley)|
"It's been very good to us," Argue says of Leeds Grenville.
When you arrive at the Lafarge Canada Inc. entrance what you see is akin to seeing just the tip of a very big iceberg.
What lies beyond the main gate, located on County Road 2 just outside the Brockville city limits, is an impressive, sprawling 250-acre site. Beyond the ready-mix concrete, lab and administrative buildings, is the sprawling 100-acre-wide South Quarry.
This site has been active for more than 55 years and over the decades its quality aggregate has helped build a large part of Leeds Grenville, according to Plant Manager Brent Argue.
"We're here because of the aggregate, the quarry and the quality of the materials," says Argue.
Looking deep into the South Quarry, two rock formations are clear: the Oxford formation, used for the local market with clear stone and granular, and the March formation, where premium Dense Friction Coarse (DFC) aggregate is found. This aggregate is one of the few approved for use on 400-series highways. Lafarge is licensed to move up to 500,000 tonnes per year from its quarries.
"This is a good place to do business," says Argue.
Lafarge is known for its consistency and innovative products. The firm employs 30 people during peak seasons. Several staff members have been with the company for more than 40 years.
Lafarge offers a variety of products. It produces granular and general road construction materials, Quality Pavement Repair (GPR) Cold Patch and washed stone. The site has a computer-calibrated batching process and operates a laboratory. "We're constantly testing materials," says Argue, adding the provide testing for other operations as well. A maintenance department, which travels to plants in three provinces, is based at the local site.
Both commercial and residential business has been good, according to Argue. Some of the larger projects Lafarge has been involved with include The Wedgewood, Greenfield Ethanol in Johnstown, schools and several big-box stores. One of its current projects is the Tall Ships Landing on Brockville's waterfront.
Lafarge is a publicly traded company employing 76,000 in 78 different countries. Its revenues topped $16.2-billion in 2010. It's considered a worldwide leader in building materials.
The quarry operation here has a long and colourful history. It originated through Permanent Transit-Mix Concrete Ltd., which was established in 1953. The company expanded into the Belleville, Cobourg and Brockville area and in 1955 established Brockville as the head office.
Having a Brockville location ensured the company had a presence in the area during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. There were sales of approximately $663,000 that year but this would jump to $1.3 million in 1956. By now the company had eight locations, including Iroquois.
There were name changes. Quarry operations at what was now called Brockville Crushed Stone Ltd. reached 78,000 tons in 1956. A Kingston operation was launched. The company had its first pipeline job in 1958, providing concrete weights over 1,000 miles from Port Arthur to Toronto. In 1964, Canada Cement acquired 49 % of the company and the name was again changed to Permanent Concrete Ltd. In 1970, the remaining 51 % of the company was purchased and Canada Cement Lafarge Ltd. was born. Expansion continued into the United States.
In 2015, Lafarge celebrated its 60th anniversary. It was named Business of the Year by the Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley in 2005.
Brent Argue says the company continues to be a good corporate citizen, supporting sports teams and organizations. It has earned recognition awards for community involvement. "We try to give back to the community," he says.
Brent Argue is proud to do business in Leeds Grenville.
To learn learn more about Lafarge Canada Inc. visit www.lafarge-na.com or call the local office at 613-342-0262.