PEI

Hitching posts for Amish coming to Montague, P.E.I.

Some stores in Montague, P.E.I. are getting ready for an influx of Amish shoppers this summer — including installing hitching posts.

'Our goal is to make them feel welcome, and have the product and the facilities so they're comfortable'

An influx of Amish families to the Montague area means they'll need somewhere to park while they shop. (Shutterstock / John Panella)

Some stores in Montague, P.E.I. are getting ready for an influx of Amish shoppers this summer — including installing hitching posts.

Several Amish families are expected to move to the area in the next few months and Mark Beck wants them to feel comfortable shopping in his family's businesses, Stewart and Beck Home Building Centre and the Home Hardware store.

"We started meeting them last year when they'd come to Eastern P.E.I. It seemed the local lumber yard or hardware store was a natural place for them to drop in, and I've been touring them around our business," said Beck.

Beck has gotten in touch with stores in Amish areas of Ontario to get an idea of what kind of merchandise the Amish population likes to buy in order to stock it.

"We're hoping to build a hitching post in one store likely, and I've been looking at plans on — they call it a run-in shed," at the lumber store, Beck added. The shed is a three-sided building with an open front the Amish can drive their buggies into to park the horses in the shade.  

Beck plans to get more input from the families when they arrive.

He expects the changes will be made some time during 2016.

"Our goal is to make them feel welcome, and have the product and the facilities so they're comfortable coming in," said Beck. 

What's old is new again

The Town of Montague is also looking at accommodating local Amish. It's currently updating its official plan and zoning bylaw.

"The addition of residents who use buggies with horses to travel may create challenges," the town said in its document on the process, called Consider a Change, released Monday. 

"Safety may require [us to] identify specific streets for horse use and provision of separate horse parking areas," the document reads. 

The town is considering adding provisions to designate streets near Main Street for buggy use and appropriate off-street areas for horse and buggy storage.

With files from Angela Walker

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