Promises from Westfield that an in-centre trolley-locking system would put an end to discarded trolleys littering the streets of Hornsby have been broken.
Around 500 shopping carts are abandoned in a one kilometre radius of Westfield on any one day, a survey has found. The photo here shows “dozens” of trolleys blocking a Westfield exit in Florence Street, posing a potentially catastrophic fire risk.
On another occasion 34 were counted at this location, and Coles were slapped with a $3,000 fine.
“Westfield has been evacuated several times in recent years and in the event of an evacuation today the abandoned shopping trolleys are clearly an issue,” says Councillor Nathan Tilbury, who’s been working at finding a solution to the trolley scourge for three years now.
For decades abandoned shopping trolleys have been an issue in the area and Hornsby Council has tried to resolve the headache with Westfield, retailers and trolley collection contractors, as yet with no successful solution.
Last March Westfield agreed to install a wheel locking system that would lock trolleys at all exit points to the Westfield Shopping Centre. Yet over a year later, rather than installing a system that would prevent all trolleys from leaving their centre as previously agreed, Westfield now wants to install a system that would allow trolleys to leave their Centre and access Hornsby Mall.
It’s proposing the four outer boundaries of the Mall are where the locking system is installed.
Hornsby Council has rejected Westfield’s proposed perimeter system and has written to them asking for a formal response. “The Council thinks Westfield has been slack in resolving this,” said Cllr Tilbury.
“It presents unacceptable amenity and access issues for Hornsby Mall which is the most trafficked public space in the Shire.
“If the wheel locking is installed at those exits, it becomes Council’s responsibility rather than theirs.”
Yet there are successful in-centre wheel locking systems at Westfield Bondi and Chatswood. “Westfield was at one point concerned the trolleys would block its exits. A way round this is to install a five or six metre buffer between the locking system and the doors, so trolleys aren’t log-jammed at exits.
“If Westfield doesn’t commit to installing such a system, Council has passed a Notice of Motion to start impounding and charging $120 for each trolley impounded and their return.”
At $120 a trolley, and with the pound a long way from Hornsby, this could prove problematic for the supermarkets. Currently 70% of discarded trolleys are from Coles, 20% from Woolworths and the rest from smaller Westfield retailers like Dan Murphy.
“In the meantime Council’s compliance officers will be regularly following up and fining as required until this issue is resolved once and for all.”
A Westfield spokesperson said that because of “potential safety hazards, we are unable to install a wheel locking system at the immediate entrance and exit points of the centre.
“We are asking council to consider the proposal to install a wheel locking system at the boundary of Hornsby Mall, which would allow for better integration between Westfield Hornsby and the Town Centre for customers and successfully reduce the number of trolleys on the streets whilst allowing for the ease of trolley collection.
“We’ll continue discussions with Hornsby Council until an agreement has been made and we are working with our retail partners, who own the trolleys, to collect these in a timely manner.”