Problems caused by shopping carts being taken from MarketPlace stores on Victoria Street and Church Street, and then dumped elsewhere in the city, now have a solution.
An electronic system has been put in place to lock up the wheels of any carts that are pushed outside the boundaries of the stores.
It is designed to end the need for the company to send employees scouring the streets of the city every two days to recover abandoned carts.
The Gatekeeper Shopping Cart Containment System is operating at both MarketPlace locations in Hamilton, and may eventually be rolled out to stores elsewhere.
An underground electronic marker system acts like an invisible fence, sending a signal to a wheel on the cart that instantly locks it when it passes beyond the edge of the boundary.
In a statement, the company’s management said: “For years, abandoned shopping carts on the city’s sidewalks and roads have been a safety concern as well as unsightly.
“Previously our trucks search several times a week throughout the area, rounding up carts.”
The abandoned carts are also in violation of a Hamilton bylaw.
Gary Shuman, president of MarketPlace, said the company often found abandoned carts as far away as the harbour, Pitts Bay Road and Saltus Grammar School, and in various places around the city where they can be blown around on windy days and potentially cause damage.
The problem has been ongoing for decades. Mr Schuman said a solution had been discussed and it was decided this year to implement it.
He said the City of Hamilton had been helpful in making it possible to install the system, which had required some trenching work.
Recognising that some customers do have genuine reasons for needing to take a cart filled with their shopping a bit further from the store than the system now allows, MarketPlace managers will be glad to assist by having them accompanied by a member of staff with a fob key that unlocks the cart brake.
Mr Shuman explained that there are customers who need to take their shopping in a cart as far as the bus terminal, or further along the street to where they have parked their car.
“The managers will send someone with them to release the cart brake and ensure the cart is returned.”
In a statement, the City of Hamilton said: “We applaud The MarketPlace and fully supports the new system in place to effectively eliminate abandoned, unsightly shopping carts in the city.
“The city would like to thank the MarketPlace for recognising the potential hazards and taking action to ensure that carts are not left on the city sidewalks once they have served their purpose.
“The safety of pedestrians and motorists will always be of utmost importance to the city.”