The Problem with Shopping Carts in Thunder Bay

In Winter, shopping carts left abandoned end up blocking sidewalks and snow clearing
In Winter, shopping carts left abandoned end up blocking sidewalks and snow clearing

Thunder Bay – NEWS – Shopping carts, those helpful tools in many stores to help load up on needed supplies can also become not only an eyesore, but a risk when they are taken off of the property of the store they are from.

You can find abandoned shopping carts all over Thunder Bay.

Sidewalks near Thunder Bay Transit bus stops are often clogged up with abandoned shopping carts. Our local creeks and rivers often see abandoned shopping carts dumped in the water.

The cost to a store for a shopping cart is about $500 according to a source at Walmart.

There also does not however, appear to be a lot of effort going into gathering up abandoned shopping carts in Thunder Bay.

Over the winter, across Thunder Bay, abandoned shopping carts have been documented blocking sidewalks, making snow clearing efforts, or hampering pedestrians, especially those with mobility devices, or young moms with strollers from getting around.

Now that spring has arrived, some of the abandoned carts are seen in ditches, creeks, and rivers. They are seen in parking lots far from their original locations.

There isn’t a real solution to this problem at present. If a property owner takes the shopping cart, which is technically under the law a stolen item, they could be, but probably according to sources in the Thunder Bay Police Service, unlikely to be charged with theft, or with possession of stolen goods. However the threat is there.

Business owners have relayed to NetNewsLedger that shopping carts on their property present a liability issue. Cars could damage cars in their parking lots. They also through the winter impede snow clearing efforts for many businesses. In spring they can impede clearing the winter’s accumulation of gravel and sand.

Thunder Bay Police Service says that people can call Thunder Bay Public Works over abandoned shopping carts. Public Works however says to call Thunder Bay Police.

Perhaps it is time for the City of Thunder Bay to start seeking a solution to this problem. Could a by-law help? Could the major stores with shopping carts step up their game when it comes to collecting up the carts?

Thunder Bay isn’t “Sunnyside Trailer Park” and as far as we know, we don’t have our very own “Bubbles” here in the city to gather up carts.

It might sound like a small issue during the global pandemic, but it is an issue of public safety, and in making our city a better place.

One wonders, is there a member of City Council ready, willing and able to help?

James Murray

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