Ottawa city council is looking at Mississauga for ideas on cracking down on shopping carts being taken from parking lots.

Ottawa councillor Tim Tierney is proposing to charge retailers a fee to clean up their carts from the side of the road.

He said he was looking elsewhere to find steps being taken to keep carts in place when he found Mississauga's laws.

"It not only looks at the retail side of things, but it also goes after the offenders that take the carts off the lot," he said.

Mississauga can fine anyone caught abandoning a cart as much as $5,000.

Stores are charged a $50 retrieval fee, which turns into a disposal fee after 60 days.

Business owners said runaway carts are a problem on Jasmine Crescent in east Ottawa, where CTV Ottawa counted 17 carts left on the side of the road.

"It hasn't improved at all," said Canadian Tire manager Glen Anderson, referring to CTV Ottawa's first story in November. "Actually, last night the owner and I were out in his van picking up carts off the street."

Anderson said stores shouldn't have to pay to get stolen carts back.

"The fee on shopping carts that we lose, that we're losing money on, it's a ridiculous proposition for the stores," he said.

People living on that street said the carts are a safety issue.

"The kids like to grab the carts and push them around," said Nancy Trudeau."If it does fall in the street in front of the bus, in front of a car, it's definitely a huge problem."

Tierney said the city could be found responsible if a cart causes an accident.

"It would be hard to say we didn't know about it, so yes, we could be in a legal position if we don't pick up those carts," he said.

In other city hall news, Cumberland ward councillor Stephen Blais said he wants university students clogging up express routes to pay extra for that service.

He said express pass holders pay $116 a month and deserve a premium service because of that.

Also, a committee approved a new $7 million footbridge over the Rideau River, connecting Somerset Street East with Donald Street.

The proposal goes before the full council next week.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua