After sustaining significant damage during a wind storm at the beginning of the month, the Pointe-Claire Historical Society is calling on the city to restore the city’s iconic windmill.
Strong winds recently battered the 300-year-old structure, breaking two of its four sails.
With visible cracks in the foundation and its rotting wood frame, Andrew Swidzinski, vice-president of the Pointe-Claire Heritage society, says the windmill has been in a sorry state for years and the city needs to act.
Pointe-Claire Mayor John Belvedere said the city is fully aware of the state of the windmill.
“It’s been our priority for many years,” he said.
Belvedere said the city can’t foot the bill on any repairs because they are not the owners of the historic property.
Negotiations are currently underway between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal and the land owners, the St-Joachim Parish.
Swidzinski, however, says the city has a right and a duty to restore the windmill.
“Ownership should not be an obstacle,” he said. “They can subsidize it, they can lease it, they can take other actions to ensure the building is preserved.”
The city said once the negotiations are complete, it plans on acquiring the windmill and repairing the historic landmark.
The Archdiocese of Montreal said it will collaborate closely with both the city and parish to establish an action plan.
“We will take the time to make an informed decision and we will announce in due time the outcome of the ongoing discussions,” a statement issued by the diocese reads.
Swidzinski fears waiting for the negotiations to finalize will be costly on the already damaged building.
“The city has spent millions of dollars pasting that logo everywhere — buildings and cars, while the actual building is falling into ruin,” Swidzinski said.
While no time has been given to when and if repairs will be started on the windmill, Belvedere says he is confident they will be done in due time.
“We are well aware the windmill needs some repairs but is it not going to fall down. It’s a very strong structure that needs some tender love and care,” he said.