Businesses could be charged to get stolen carts back
One Ottawa city councillor says he wants retailers to pay when their shopping carts have to be cleaned up from city streets.
Beacon Hill-Cyrville councillor Tim Tierney said some shoppers are using carts to take their purchases home, then abandoning them – littering the landscape and posing a safety risk to motorists.
Tierney said city crews are left to clean up the carts and return them at taxpayers' expense.
"We have to go out and we have to take those carts. . . back to a lot of these retail locations just to make sure nothing happens," he said. "We don't want those pushed out into traffic, we don't want to have any safety issues."
He said he has put forth a motion to charge stores $20 each to get them back.
"We're penalizing businesses or we're penalizing the taxpayer, and I work for the taxpayer," he said.
CTV Ottawa found dozens of carts lying on the ground at Jasmine Crescent in east Ottawa, near the Gloucester Centre shopping mall and other retailers.
"The whole community, the whole area looks like a junkyard," one shopper said.
"That's not right because the rest of us that are shopping in the store expect the carts to be there," added another.
Some stores said they can lose more than 100 carts a year.
"Well, customers that come in to do shopping, they don't have a vehicle to come home with so they decide to load up the cart and walk it home," said Canadian Tire manager Glen Anderson.
Some stories said they'd feel like they'd been robbed twice if they had to pay to get them back.
"We're already losing $150 to $200 a cart and if they're implementing a $20 fee to return them it's just an added cost to something that we have no control over," Anderson said, who called it "ridiculous."
Retailers said the costs to protect carts are too expensive – installing an electric fence that locks their wheels or making carts coin-operated.
They said they're appealing for customers to bring their carts back, as if they're fined or have to buy new carts the cost will be passed on to consumers.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua