Sudbury looking for solutions to abandoned shopping cart problem

Greater Sudbury city councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann presented a motion on Tuesday night asking city staff to come up with options for dealing with abandoned shopping carts across the city.

Unanimous support for city councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann motion asking for staff to find options

These abandoned shopping carts were found in Ward 12 recently. Councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann presented a motion calling for solutions to the problem. (Supplied by Joscelyne Landry-Altmann)

They can be found on the side of the road, at the back of a parking lot, maybe even in a river bed. Abandoned shopping carts are unsightly, annoying and can pose a hazard for motorists if they roll onto the road.

Sudbury City Councillor Joscelyne Landry Altmann sees a lot of abandoned shopping carts in her Ward 12, where there are numerous grocery stores and retailers who offer carts to shoppers.

On Tuesday, she asked the rest of council to support her motion calling for a new policy or bylaw to deal with abandoned shopping carts.

"Carts that are stacked up five in a row on a sidewalk off of Lasalle, stacked up three and four at bus stops, and because of the snow banks it's further aggravated," she said.

"And they teeter on snow banks and then they end up on roads."

Ottawa's proactive measures

Landry-Altmann looked to a new proactive policy in place in Ottawa, as a guide to what could be created in Sudbury.

"The possibility of establishing a bylaw, a management plan for the businesses that offer shopping carts in order to reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts in the city," she said.

"I've spoken to staff in Ottawa. and they've had great success with their policy. It's more of a proactive measure."

The motion was supported unanimously by the rest of Sudbury city council, including Ward 8 councillor Al Sizer, who shares the busy Lasalle Boulevard with Landry-Altmann, as part of his ward.

"The [abandoned shopping carts] also sit on sidewalks and the MTs, the municipal tractors, can not finish their job. So I also welcome this motion to see if we can have some kind of solution to the problem," he said.

A cleanup of Junction Creek in May 2019 found these abandoned shopping carts. (Junction Creek Stewardship Committee Facebook)

"This is a serious challenge in the Donovan-Elm West neighbourhood," Ward 3 councillor Geoff McCausland said. He added that abandoned carts are often found in Nolin Creek.

"This also should help to protect our waterways, prevent flooding issues. There was a past incident with that creek where debris caused a flood, which backed up on to the neighbouring properties," he said.

Each cart costs upwards of $1,500

"I do commend the businesses that have worked hard," Landry Altmann told city council. She says many local merchants are on board with whatever new policy the city creates.

That's because it would help them protect their investments. Shopping carts can cost upwards of $1,500 each.

Some grocery stores in Sudbury do have a locking system in place, where the wheels on shopping carts lock if they travel past a certain part of the store's property where a magnetic strip has been placed.

Landry-Altmann told council that those magnetic strips don't always work in the winter when snow and ice has piled up.

Sudbury city staff will compile options and bring those forward to council at its Apr. 21 meeting.


Angela Gemmill


Angela Gemmill is a CBC journalist who has covered news in Sudbury, Ont., for 16 years. Connect with her on Twitter @AngelaGemmill. Send story ideas to


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