Sand Extraction in the 1960's
When the Donat Grandmaitre purchased Petrie Island in 1962, he intended to run a sand extraction business. Petrie Island is rich in sand that has been deposited there by the Ottawa River.
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The aerial photo on the left, dated in 1962, shows the Bailey bridge that gave access to the sand on the island. A dragline was initially used to extract sand. A steel cable was stretched between towers, and a scoop was dragged along the sand. The scoop dumped the load into a pile where it could be loaded into trucks.
A sifting tower was used to sort the sand based on its granularity. The sand was sold as far away as the U.S. for projects such as golf courses.
In the 1980's, the Grandmaitres stopped using the dragline, and began using a dredge that extracted the sand from under the water. The whole bay to the east of the present beach area has been dredged to a depth of 60 feet. The photo above shows sand piles on what is now the public beach. The sand extraction business, which operated by leasing the island from RMOC, was halted in 2002 to make way for the development of the beach.