West Island preservation group wants Pointe Claire to buy heritage site

Anthony Abbondanza
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Closing convent could house local associations’ meetings: SSPPC

With the Congregation of Notre Dame moving, Claude Arsenault of the SSPPC said it’s the perfect time to purchase the convent and the ‘La Pointe’ land.

The president of Pointe Claire’s Historical Preservation Society (SSPPC) wants the city of Pointe Claire to purchase one of the oldest protected areas of the West Island known as ‘La Pointe.’

After the Chronicle first reported news of the Congregation of Notre-Dame’s December-bound departure from the Notre-Dame-du-Vieux-Moulin Convent, last week, due to the administration’s inability to maintain costs and old age, Claude Arsenault said “it’s a beautiful opportunity for the city to buy the land.”

Though the convent is a part of the ‘La Pointe’ land, a heritage-designated site which includes the windmill, presbytery, and the church, and owned by the St. Joachim Parish for over two centuries, city officials “must ensure its preservation and accessibility to the public,” said the SSPPC president.

According to Arsenault, who was unsuccessful in his bid to become a city councillor in the Nov. 2013 municipal election, Pointe Claire should emulate the city of Chateauguay; the latter purchased land – and roughly nine buildings – situated on Ile St. Bernard belonging to the Grey Nuns of Montreal in 2011 to ensure its preservation.

The land is now home to the picturesque Marguerite-D’Youville Wildlife Sanctuary.

Such an acquisition would require a substantive financial investment.

Sources close to the situation told the Chronicle no such plan is in play and that city officials will wait to learn of St. Joachim Parish’s intentions moving forward.

The convent, said Arsenault, could be also be transformed either into a museum celebrating ‘La Pointe’ or be used as a place where local associations can conduct meetings.

Pointe Claire city officials announced earlier this week the preservation of the heritage site as its primary priority.

“We will take an active role in defining the future of the convent and the site, in the best interest of the City and the community of Pointe Claire,” Mayor Morris Trudeau said in statement. “We will do whatever is needed to ensure that this extraordinary historical site is preserved for future generations.”

The previous Bill McMurchie administration declared the area a heritage site in March 2013, a year after the Quebec government made a similar designation.

The Congregation of Notre Dame moved into the convent in 1787 from Lachine, following an agreement with the St. Joachim Parish, that the nuns could use the facility free of charge for as long as they taught young school girls. In 1867, the present Notre-Dame-du-Vieux-Moulin convent was built to replace an aging and deteriorating building.


Organizations: SSPPC, Historical Preservation Society

Geographic location: Pointe Claire, La Pointe, West Island Chateauguay Montreal Quebec Notre Dame Vieux-Moulin

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