Local retailers that fail to roundup abandoned shopping trolleys in a timely manner will now be penalised under tough new rules.
The beefed-up measures, adopted by Penrith Councillors on Monday night, are designed to make retailers more proactive in searching for and retrieving abandoned and unattended shopping trolleys dumped in public spaces.
Council’s Environmental Health and Compliance Manager Greg McCarthy said he was looking forward to putting the new policy into practice and holding trolley owners accountable.
“Word is going to spread pretty quickly that Council is taking this very seriously,” he said during a presentation to Councillors.
“We’re employing all our powers under the Impounding Act.”
The number of discarded trolleys littering the City’s streets, parks and waterways has increased in recent years, with fed-up Councillors and community members demanding action to address the eyesores.
Under the new policy, Council rangers or city presentation staff will locate abandoned shopping trolleys, tag them, and if a retailer is identified, contact them and give them 24 hours to remove the trolley or risk it being impounded.
If they fail to comply, Council will seize the trolley and issue them with an invoice for costs incurred during impounding and storage.
The trolley can only be released upon payment of fees and charges, and if the trolley is not collected, Council will dispose of it and pursue cost recovery with the retailer.
Councillor Greg Davies said the financial penalties needed to be harsh to force the large companies to take action.
“Let’s not muck around with how much we charge,” he said.
“We have to make it worth their while.”
Deputy Mayor Karen McKeown expressed her support for naming and shaming, suggesting Council take an ad out listing the top offending proprietors.
“Let’s see if that gets their attention,” she said, pointing out retailers have a corporate and social responsibility to tackle the issue.
However, Councillor Kevin Crameri said it was the people who dump the trolleys who were the problem.
“They’re just damn lazy,” he said.
“They don’t have any respect.”
Councils can only fine customers who are caught abandoning trolleys in public places, making it difficult to enforce.
Councillor Bernard Bratusa first requested a trolley management policy back in June, declaring “enough is enough”.
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Senior News Reporter, primarily covering courts and Council issues.