Trolleys an eyesore
By PETER CATON
HERE'S where some of your shopping dollars end up ? in a mountain of discarded and trashed supermarket trolleys collected by Tweed Shire Council.
Hundreds of the trolleys worth around $160 each are impounded by council rangers each year ? but scores of others are thought to be lying on footpaths, in drains and in other waterways around the shire.
The eyesore of dumped and rusting trolleys so alarmed Tweed Heads resident Bruce Olson of Anchorage Islands this week that he personally appealed to Tweed Shire Council's administrators to take a harder line with the trolley owners, the supermarkets.
He called for a better system to be put in place to ensure supermarkets, which he believes are making too much money to care, keep their trolleys on their premises.
Administrator Lucy Turnbull told him it wasn't just Tweed Heads facing the problem.
"There are trolleys all over Australia," she said.
Chief administrator Garry Payne, who is also the director general of the NSW Department of Local Government, said the council was restricted in what it could do but negotiations were being held between the NSW Local Government and Shires Association and supermarket chains to reduce the problem.
The council's chief ranger, Paul Brouwer, said rangers rang supermarkets once a trolley was spotted in the streets and most responded quickly in collecting them.
"If they don't retrieve it in a certain time we impound it," he said.
Mr Brouwer said rangers however had not found any wayward trolleys from the new Aldi supermarket in Machinery Drive South Tweed Heads where customers are required to pay a two-dollar deposit.
A spokesperson for Woolworths said the company replaced about five per cent of its trolley fleet each year because they were stolen, damaged or beyond economic repair.
"The average trolley costs about $150, but special trolleys can cost up to $600," she said.
"Removing a trolley from supermarket premises is theft. We employ trolley collectors at all our stores and work closely with local councils."
A Coles spokesperson said the company took its responsibilities in regards to trolleys very seriously.