The shopping cart rules come into effect on September 7

Sault Ste. Marie’s city council is taking a hybrid approach in its new bylaw to clean up abandoned shopping carts found around town.

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Grocery store owners who leave their shopping carts offsite may soon be paying money to collect them.

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City council has passed a bylaw that requires retailers who use shopping carts to develop their own management plan for the recovery and return of abandoned carts.

These carts, often found on street corners, on the side of a road or on the private property of others, were considered a nuisance by the city council.

In fact, the new bylaw approved by city council earlier this week is similar to the bylaw on dirty yards.

This regulation is in a way a hybrid attempt to solve the problem.

First, retailers with shopping carts will be required to file a plan with the city’s public works department identifying the steps they will take to keep caddies on their property, or alternatively, to collect them. Each store is also required to provide the names and telephone numbers of the management who will be called if carts are found off-site, giving them ample time to retrieve them.

If proactive measures do not occur within a reasonable timeframe, the regulation also includes enforcement mechanisms to apply in the event of non-compliance, which could lead store owners to pay fines of up to $ 5,000 for inaction.

This is the second – now approved – draft of the by-law that the City’s legal team has prepared. It will go into effect in early September, giving retailers time to develop their own plan to keep carts on site or pick them up quickly, if necessary.

This version addresses council concerns about an earlier version, which could have seen private owners charged if the carts were left on their property.

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“I’m happy to see it’s here. It’s been a long time coming, ”said Ward 3 Council. Matthew Shoemaker, who initiated the motion to have the bylaw written.

Shoemaker said the problem persists in his neighborhood – as well as elsewhere – and he believes the settlement is a good step towards solving the problem.

The shoemaker is happy with the hybrid settlement. The key now, he said, is to make those plans well.

“I think it will take a little longer to do and I think there will be trial and error, but that’s okay because the plans have to be approved by public works and I’m sure the staff will work with store owners. carts, ”he told The Sault Star.

Some retailers have already taken a proactive approach, knowing that the regulation is on the horizon.

Food Basics has implemented a wheel lock system on its strollers. If a user attempts to leave the property, a locking system prevents the wheels from moving, making it difficult to pick up the cart.

“I’m glad they took proactive steps and I really believe that in the long run it will save them money and they won’t have to pay others to pick up and return the carts,” he said. he declared.

Shoemaker said he hopes the plans will work and that fines for non-compliance do not need to be imposed.

“But if there are shopping cart owners who are breaking the law, then that option is there,” he said.

The abandoned shopping cart problem is not new. The same issue was raised by city council in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014, Shoemaker said.

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At that time, the only option seemed to be to fine the owners, which the councils of the day were reluctant to do.

But Shoemaker said after completing his research into the issues, he found that other Ontario municipalities have development cart management systems, similar to those that will be implemented in Sault Ste. Married.

“I think it’s a win-win. We will have a positive responsibility with cart management systems in place, a warning mechanism to inform violators that they are ready to pick up abandoned carts and a good mechanism for those who do not play by the rules ”, a- he declared. .

Shoemaker said he will monitor the evolution of the regulation during the first year of implementation and if it doesn’t work well it can be changed.

Currently, PWT will have the discretion to implement compliance deadlines with store owners, but if that turnaround isn’t quick enough, Shoemaker said he would have no problem asking for an amendment and deadlines. stricter guidelines for when owners must remove abandoned carts.

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Peggy P. Gilmore