The Ontario Wood Award is presented to companies and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the support and promotion of local wood. The 2016 award was presented at Forests Ontario's Annual Conference, held at the Nottawasaga Inn in Alliston, Ontario. This year's recipient was Sawmill Sid Inc. for their work to repurpose wood from fallen or infested trees into useful lumber, beams and other building material.
Based in Midland, Ontario, Sawmill Sid specializes in portable sawmilling and wood repurposing solutions. In 2015, Sawmill Sid recovered 6,200 cubic meters of ash wood from trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The wood recovered from these trees is used in the production of a multitude of products, including flooring, furniture, fire place mantels, and homes. Wood is also provided to schools and community groups for building projects.
In light of extreme weather events and invasive species such as the EAB, urban wood waste has become a major challenge for Ontario's municipalities. Without the means to recycle wood from dead trees, a significant portion of wood is destined for landfills. By providing portable sawmilling services, Sawmill Sid provides an alternative that allows fallen trees to be given new life as useful products. In February 2016, Sawmill Sid will also launch a Tree & Wood Recovery centre where felled trees can be dropped off to be repurposed into building material.
"Reclaimed wood offers so much potential, especially with its unique patterns and grains," said Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. "With such a huge amount of ash wood in particular being destined for landfills, Sawmill Sid's work is creating a great opportunity for artisans and builders to access this wood before it goes to waste."
"We have witnessed many excellent local wood workers, furniture makers, firewood producers and artisans making excellent products out of urban wood. When we learned that 95% of the urban wood was still being chipped or tub ground, we thought, we can help with that," said Sid Gendron, owner of Sawmill Sid Inc. "Recycling this wood back into production is a win-win, creating opportunity for artisans and saving costs for municipalities."
Sawmill Sid's community involvement extends to providing lumber for the Buddy Benches program, which builds benches for schools in Simcoe County, and offers educational tours and demonstrations to community groups across the GTA.
Local wood offers a renewable and fully biodegradable resource. When we purchase products made from Ontario wood, we are purchasing something that makes a significantly lesser ecological impact than products made with other building materials while also contributing to the growth of local economies. The work of Sawmill Sid is both making local wood easy to access and reducing the ecological impact of building by taking advantage of a previously unused resource.
Forests Ontario and Ontario Wood congratulate Sawmill Sid Inc. and express our thanks for their leadership and innovation in making reclaimed wood more accessible and promoting local wood products to urban audiences.