Ipswich City Council removed 75 abandoned trolleys from the Bremer River in the past year, partnering with Healthy Land and Water to target stretches of the river and riverbanks between the Bradfield Bridge and David Trumpy Bridge, and around River Heart Parklands.
Environment and Sustainability Committee Chair Cr Russell Milligan said dumping of shopping trolleys into the town reaches of the Bremer River has been a long-term, on-going issue with significant concern expressed from community members.
“It appears that shopping trolleys are being thrown off the Bradfield and David Trumpy bridges, and the adjoining pathways into the river,” Cr Milligan said.
“They present both an amenity and environmental issue for the local community and ecology of the waterway. It also poses a significant safety risk to the community and River Heart Parkland users.
“While these trolleys do not belong to council, nor is it council’s direct responsibility to remove them from the Bremer River, council is committed to protecting and improving the natural environment of Ipswich.
“Council currently has a significant focus on investment in improving our waterways and has commissioned a clean-up program to remove these trolleys, along with any other rubbish encountered throughout the river.
“This clean up works hand in hand with council’s Habitat Connections Program which targets weeds in the same area.”
The 2020-2021 trolley clean-up program cost $9,000 for the three separate clean up events.
Environment and Sustainability Committee Deputy Chair Cr Andrew Fechner called for retailers to contribute financially to the cost of the clean-up.
“The trolleys belong to Woolworths, Coles, and Kmart and these big companies should pay to get them out of our waterways,” Cr Fechner said.
“The city is paying the full cost to recover their trolleys, so I think it is right for us to ask for them to help cover our costs.
Councillor Fechner said the trolley issue highlighted ongoing safety concerns about the relatively low siderails on the David Trumpy Bridge.
“The David Trumpy Bridge is managed and maintained by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads,” Cr Fechner said.
“In early July, Councillor Marnie Doyle and I wrote to the local State Member of Parliament seeking their support to advocate for the Department to install anti-throw screens on the bridge.
“We believe these screens would reduce incidents of self-harm and diminish opportunistic anti-social behaviour including the throwing of trolleys from the bridge into the Bremer River, its banks or walkways below.”
Security cameras and CCTV operate 24 hours a day in the Riverlink and Bradfield bridge areas.
It is illegal for a person to remove a shopping trolley from retail premises, and on-the-spot fines of more than $260 can be issued to a person who takes or leaves a shopping trolley outside of retail premises.