City evaluates grocery cart abandonment issues

Alycia Douglass
City evaluates grocery cart abandonment issues
The city is currently assessing their options in response to the growing issue of abandoned shopping carts.

CORNWALL, Ontario – We see them in parks, on lawns, and sometimes even tucked away in someone’s garage. Abandoned shopping carts have become a real problem in Cornwall, and the city is currently assessing ways to regulate the issue.

According to Uline, a typical shopping cart costs almost $250, and must be purchased in quantities of at least four – that’s a guaranteed $1000 expenditure each time stores have to replace missing carts.

While some stores require customers to pay coin deposits as high as two dollars, one grocery store employee says it’s not always enough to deter someone who can’t afford a taxi.

“We know that poverty is part of the equation,” said City of Cornwall Supervisor of Bylaw Enforcement, Christopher Rogers. “To ignore this reality would be insensitive to those who are less fortunate in our community.”

In response to issues of poverty, Rogers says there is an active dialogue about the prospect of making fold-up shopping buggies readily available for those in need.

The item, which is active on the Property Standards Advisory Committee  (PSAC) agenda; was discussed at the Feb. 22 special meeting, which included representatives from a number of supermarkets.

Rogers says that the meeting focused on the progressively worsening issue of abandoned carts and possible solutions.

“We recognize that it’s a significant problem in our city, and we are working on a resolution,” said Rogers. “We met with many of the stakeholders and supermarket owners last week.”

With the issue becoming increasingly pertinent, some communities have already passed bylaws which impose fines on retailers for abandoned carts. “The intent of any bylaw or other City action would be first and foremost to cause the removal of carts from City boulevards,” said Rogers.

While the city has not yet made any decisions, the option to implement a such a bylaw does exist. In an effort to remove the public eyesore as well as help retailers combat their losses, city officials continue to discuss the best possible solution to Cornwall’s current cart dilemma.

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