OpinionIt’s time to get off your trolley

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THE COMMON SHOPPING TROLLEY: No, that’s not its natural habitat.OFF me trolley?
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Possibly no more than usual, but I have found self-diagnosis a very tricky business. I’ll consult with the leadership group and release a statement in due course. In the meantime, let it be understood that the trolleys I am referring to as being off are the ones in Newcastle that go feral and roam the streets without supervision. Many clearly suffer from abandonment issues.

Rampant shopping trolley relinquishment in Newcastle is not new. There appears no shame at all in liberating a trolley from Marketown and pushing it along Steel Street while it cradles a carton of beer, a goon sack and large packets of disposable nappies. Police drive by those pushing the trolleys nowhere near a supermarket without a second glance so it’s obviously not a crime to use the trolley as one deems fit. Please feel free to push it to a bus stop on Hunter Street or to blocks of flats a few clicks away and leave it where you find it convenient to do so. The unsupervised trolleys soon become a receptacle for discarded fast food packaging.

Most of the temporarily unwanted trolleys will eventually be rounded-up and returned to the supermarkets. These harbingers of urban decay have no place in an emerging world-class smart global city that is no longer referred to as the future jewel of the Asia Pacific anywhere near enough to satisfy those with an insatiable appetite for adjectival boosterism.

Aldi trolleys don’t go free-range because they are coin or token-operated. There’s a small financial incentive to return those trolleys. Or there is a small financial penalty to not return those trolleys. A very simple answer to an ongoing problem completely devoid of mathematical complexity. Of course resistance by other supermarket chains to impose the coin-operated trolley has been based around a perception of management and customer behavior spivs that shoppers don’t like the hassle of digging around in their pockets for a coin or token to obtain a trolley. Aldi have proven such perception is misplaced. As far as there being a cost involved to implement a coin or token-operated trolley, there’s also a cost in rounding up rogue trolleys. Either way, the shopper pays. But at least with the coin approach, eyesore is largely eliminated.

Both Westfield centres at Bondi Junction and Chatswood have locking mechanisms on shopping trolleys to prevent them being removed from the boundaries of the shopping centres. Last month Hornsby council announced that after waiting for Westfield to implement a trolley control solution – jointly trumpeted by both council and Westfield in March last year as a great win for the community and good corporate citizenry – the council will impound dumped trolleys and charge a $100 ransom for their release. Hornsby council will use the same trolley contractor that the Westfield Hornsby uses to collect the dumped trolleys. That sounds like fun.

For sure, there are many more pressing problems that require the attention of council. But abandoned trolleys are not a visual enhancement. They block footpaths, nature strips, waterways and damage cars. They are an environmental and safety concern.

Supermarkets in our area have had plenty of opportunity to implement a trolley control system. They have largely failed to do so. It’s time for a compliance stick to rid the future jewel of the Asia Pacific of these eyesores.

Twitter @paul_scott_ or [email protected]老域名出售

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