Newcastle Rowing Club president John McLeod says abandoned shopping trolleys are the bane of the city’s waterways.
Submerged and trapped in sediment, John says, the forsaken carts puts his rowers at risk on a regular basis.
Club members are now taking a proactive approach to managing trolleys, with rowers immediately contacting the supermarket’s collection firms if they see them on the streets in Carrington or Wickham.
The fast action, they’re hoping, will keep them out of Throsby Creek.
“We see them in the creek from time-to-time and unless the tide is low you can’t see them and they damage the boats,” he said.
“If they’ve been there a long time who knows how much rust is covering them and my rowers are then at greater risk if they fall on them.
“We’ve reported them, we’ve retrieved some of them. But something needs to be done to stop the trolleys from leaving the shopping precinct.”
John says alerting the trolleys’ owners is the first step to getting something done about them.
“If everybody reported them, the owners would hopefully do something about it,” he said.
John’s Carrington-based rowing club and its 100 members are just one of the groups affected by the city’s abandoned trolley problem says Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen.
Councillor Clausen has been advocating for the removal of the city’s abandoned trolleys for months, after local Newcastle residents’ groups urged the council to get involved.
A motion to address the city’s abandoned shopping trolleys was unanimously passed at a council meeting on November 24.
“I don’t have an exact number [of abandoned trolleys] but would say that it is in the many hundreds,” Cr Clausen said.
“Just two weeks ago, I supported a resident’s request to remove trolleys from a stormwater channel and in response a total of 22 trolleys were removed in just one section of creek.”
Notifying shops has been another approach Cr Clausen has taken.
“In terms of a broader update, I have also been in touch with Trolley Tracker who look after trolleys for brands such as Woolworths, Big W, Dan Murphys and Officeworks,” he said.
“They noted the impact and have committed to following up, and paying particular attention to trolley management across all their stores in the Newcastle area.
“Fingers crossed the above actions help reduce this issue.”
Aside from inconvenience and potential danger, the removal of trolleys is costly as well, Cr Clausen said.
“Dumped shopping trolleys are costly for Council to collect, especially when they find their way into our creeks and waterways,” he said.
“The best way to manage trolleys is to keep them at shopping centres.”
Councillor Emma White has also weighed in on the issue, saying practical solutions were needed through the development planning process.
“A number of Sydney councils have had great success through their Development Control Plans (DCPs) requiring new shopping centre development to have a plan to manage trolleys including coin-operated or wheel lock technology,” she said.
“Our motion calls for similar controls to be implemented through the Newcastle DCP.”
Have you seen an abandoned shopping trolley? Send your photos and where you found it to [email protected].