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Sudbury city councillor calling for solution to abandoned shopping carts
SUDBURY -- A motion passed at Tuesday’s Sudbury city council meeting is calling for solutions to abandoned shopping carts around the city.
City councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann says the issue is a growing concern across the city, including in her ward.
"This is something that is perennial, this isn’t new. But it’s to a point with the snow banks now, we seem to be having more issues than before, so it’s a time to address it," said Landry-Altmann.
Landry-Altmann says the issue was last addressed by council in 2012. She says this time, the city will be able to analyze how other municipalities have addressed the issue. Some options include magnetic strips and coin-operated carts, which are currently used by The Real Canadian Superstore on Lasalle Boulevard.
"It’s just getting the word out to everyone that taking the buggies off the property, first off, they do belong to the owners, but that they need to go back!” said Landry-Altmann.
The long-time city councillor says since the city cancelled its pickup option, many constituents have been reaching out to their councillor for a solution to the problem. She says the carts can cause numerous hazards.
"They aren’t to be left out on a sidewalk," Landry-Altmann said. "They are impeding the work that needs to be done on sidewalks. Pedestrians are having difficulty, the MT (municipal tractors) cannot clear the sidewalks, and I’ve seen them on snowbanks teetering, so that this thing is going to end up on the road, so then the snow plow is going to drag this somewhere or somebody is going to be hit by this!" she said.
Abandoned shopping carts can also pose environmental concerns.
During their most recent cleanup of a local waterway in Oct., Brandon Holden of the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee says approximately 12 carts were removed from the creek in the area of Barrydowne to Fielding Street.
"The carts do seem to have a negative impact on the creek in a few different ways," said Holden. "In addition to being aesthetically displeasing, it encourages further littering, or at least normalizes it. That litter degrades the aquatic environment and is harmful and potentially dangerous to the animals, plants, and people that make use of the creek and land around it."
In addition to taking time away from volunteers to work on other environmental projects during such cleanups, Rebecca Danard, executive director of reThink Green, says shopping carts that end up in waterways can even lead to flooding issues.
"A shopping cart can really trap other garbage and debris, so you have this sort of grate that’s impeding the flow, and anything that’s flowing down the creek is going to get caught by that shopping cart, which then builds up, potentially, like a dam situation. So, you’ve got too much water on one side of the shopping cart and then not enough on the other side," said Danard.
She adds that when carts are removed from an establishment, businesses have to replace them. The costs of such work can also be detrimental to the environment.
"There’s all the resources that go into making new carts to replace ones that have gone to spend their life in the creek," said Danard. "So, if we can just keep them all where they are supposed to be and used for what they are supposed to be used for, you can save the resources that you need to keep replacing them all the time."
Landry-Altmann says there are plans to hold a public forum on the issue at some point in March. She says business owners will be invited so they can share their concerns on the matter.