BALLINA Shire Council officers could seize abandoned shopping trolleys and hold them at council works depots until the relevant supermarket or department store paid for their release, Ballina Mayor Phillip Silver has suggested.
The suggestion is one of several now likely to be proposed in the framework for a new policy on managing abandoned trolleys around the shire after Thursday’s ordinary council meeting.
A report to councillors said the issue of abandoned trolleys was improving after renewed efforts to get shops to pick up their trolleys and encouraging residents to report them when they see them.
However, Cr David Wright said there remained anecdotal evidence of large numbers of shopping trolleys abandoned around the town or taken to people’s homes.
There was even a suggestion about 60 trolleys were found at the home of a Ballina resident.
Cr Jeff Johnson said he wanted supermarkets and department stores to adopt deposit or token systems, where a shopper has to put a coin deposit or token into a trolley to be able to use it and put the trolley away again to retrieve the deposit or token.
Cr Johnson noted that technique was being used successfully by Ballina’s Aldi store and that it had worked well in other areas. Byron Bay’s Woolworths supermarket operates a similar system, which appears to have slashed the number of abandoned trolleys there.
However, Cr Sharon Cadwallader, who first raised the issue off abandoned trolleys, said the current efforts of negotiation with shops and communication with council staff and the community were working well.
Cr Cadwallader cautioned against any policy that would add costs to retailers or the council, saying those costs would ultimately be borne by shoppers and ratepayers.
Cr David Wright said the issue was more one of safety.
“I’m more worried about them ending up on the road and a car hitting them,” he said.
The councillors called for officers to prepare a report, which could be included in the formation of a new policy, on ways toreduce the number of abandoned shopping trolleys around Ballina.
They also resolved to have council staff write to major retailers telling them the council would prefer them to use a token/deposit system to prevent trolleys being taken from shopping centres in the first place.