Built in 1709, the Pointe-Claire windmill is one of the oldest in Quebec.
It is a landmark and a Montreal emblem, but it’s deteriorating.
“It’s in a situation where it kind of urgently needs repairs,” said Andrew Swidzinski, president of the Pointe-Claire Heritage Preservation Society. “And if we don’t do it in the next year or two, I think we might be in a condition where it can get substantially worse and it can have severe damage to it.”
The land and the windmill are owned by the Archdiocese of Montreal.
Back in 2022, there was an agreement in principle between the city and the archdiocese to restore the windmill, but there were a few points that council wanted to iron out before signing off.
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“There were two major sticking stones,” said Eric Stork, Pointe-Claire city councillor.
“Public access and long-term maintenance. Council cannot — on land that we don’t even own — guarantee future maintenance and not have public access spending $1 million of taxpayer money.”
Some of those details were never ironed out.
So, council created a committee to come up with a new agreement.
And on Jan. 16, a new bylaw was approved providing financial assistance for the renovation of the windmill.
“I think it is politics because not much has changed from the initial agreement,” said Pointe-Claire Mayor Tim Thomas
Thomas said much of what’s in the new bylaw, was in the 2022 agreement. Except now, more time has passed and the new bylaw will cause even more delays.
“We have only lost time, money and energy — and goodwill on the part of the archdiocese,” Thomas said. “Because we had the archdiocese in the first agreement happy, now they’re not.”
The head of real estate for the Archdiocese of Montreal says the new bylaw will only cause more delays and won’t allow them to receive any funding from the city until the completion of the project, which wasn’t the case in the first agreement.
“Now with this bylaw we just basically added more red tape to the process,” said Stefano Marrone. “The more time that goes on, the more time the windmill has to deteriorate and it guarantees the cost will go up for everyone.”
Marrone said whether the archdiocese takes advantage of the new bylaw or not, he’s adamant that the project will move forward.
The big question is — and always has been — when?
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