The 312-year-old Pointe-Claire windmill has seen better days. It’s been sitting damaged since a strong windstorm broke two of the four wooden paddles in 2019.
Mayor John Belvedere claims the symbol of the West Island municipality started to deteriorate long before then.
“It’s really been a priority in the past three years in order to come to an agreement, in order to preserve the windmill,” he said.
In an email to Global News, the Catholic Archdiocese, who owns the land on which the windmill stands, wrote “we are in the process of studying the matter.”
According to Belvedere, however, Pointe-Claire and the diocese are close to an agreement to give the city access to the property to make the repairs.
“Not that we have to own it, it can still belong to the diocese, but giving us a right to maintain, to have access to it,” said Belvedere.
Pointe-Claire’s Pioneer bar being torn down
Pointe-Claire city council requested that Quebec’s Ministry of Culture and Communications get involved to preserve the protected historical site as soon as possible.
“If they don’t want us to be able to do it, then they should be forcing the diocese to do it, but this windmill needs to be protected,” said Belvedere.
“It’s the founding [landmark] of Pointe-Claire.”
Global News emailed Quebec’s Ministry of Culture and Communications for comment, but they did not respond by publication deadline.
While Belvedere claims his hands are tied, the Pointe-Claire Heritage Society argues the city could fund the much-needed reparations.
“There’s no reason why the city of Pointe-Claire couldn’t just provide some sort of subsidy to the church or the diocese to restore or fix up the windmill.”
The mayor said it doesn’t work like that. “We cannot just give away public funds and if we could we would — we want to protect the windmill.”
Regardless of how it’s done, the Heritage Society wants to see the windmill restored as soon as possible.
Belvedere has the same goal and agrees that time is of the essence, noting the importance of starting repairs before the windmill has to survive another winter.
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