The Pointe-Claire Historical Society (PCHS) wants to see Pointe Claire’s windmill restored.
The structure was severely damaged by a storm nearly two years ago, which caught the eye of citizens and area visitors. The windmill was in need of significant repairs prior to the storm, but gained attention when the vanes were torn apart by the storm.
Constructed in 1709-1710, the windmill is located on private land owned by the Catholic Diocese of Montreal and it represents Pointe-Claire as it is the city’s logo.
PCHS raised $30,000 to contribute to the restoration and is prepared to raise more money via fundraising. The fundraising was put on pause, as the city has yet to come to an agreement with the Diocese. “We are happy to become involved and help with private fundraising,” spokesperson for the Pointe-Claire Historical Society Andrew Swidzinski said to The Suburban.
PCHS began advocating for repairs to the windmill in 2000 when it was founded by Claude Arsenault. According to the city, negotiations began with the windmill’s previous owners, St-Joachim Parish, in 2014, however several years later with changes in the city’s leadership and changes in ownership of the land as well as the new owners’ administrative changes - the windmill restoration project appears to remain in limbo.
In 2000, then Mayor Bill McMurchie set aside $500,000 to spend towards the restoration of the windmill, but the project never got off the ground. “It has been on and off for 16 years,” Swidzinski explained.
“Our hope is that they can come to an arrangement one way or another. The city could subsidize historical properties even if they are privately owned and the provincial government would normally cover up to half of the city’s contribution,” Swidzinski told The Suburban.
Pointe-Claire Mayor John Belvedere says that he is working on getting the issue resolved and wants to see the restoration take place during his mandate. With many obstacles slowing down the process, he has passed a resolution for the Minister of Cultural Affairs to get involved. “The site was declared as historical, so we are asking them to help us apply pressure on the Diocese to get an agreement finalized,” Belvedere told The Suburban.