A shopping cart abandoned in a parking lot is not an uncommon sight in the city.

Lost and found shopping carts

Shopping carts are being seen all around town and less of them are in the stores where they came from

Shopping carts are being seen all around town and less of them are in the stores where they came from.

City of Prince Rupert workers have collected more than 150 carts since they noticed the unsightly problem — abandoned shopping carts left around a city are usually acquainted with post-apocalypse films.

“The City has noticed an increase in the number of carts being abandoned after the major grocery and department chains removed the pay-per-use fee on their carts,” said Veronika Stewart, the city communications manager.

The shopping cart Easter egg hunt grows each week, which may explain the reports of Walmart customers complaining about the lack of carts to shop with.

The city has been collecting shopping carts that are abandoned on public property throughout Prince Rupert and the carts keep piling up.

“Because of the high number of carts being abandoned, we have now instituted a nuisance fine to return them to the local retailers who own them. The charge is a way to recoup a small amount  of the extra costs to the city of collecting and redistributing them,” Stewart said.

Walmart, Safeway and Save-on-Foods did not offer a response in time for publication. Why they ended the pay-per-use fee and what they plan to do about their carts remains unknown.

The bylaw to prevent and prohibit nuisances and unsightly property states that the person will incur the expense of the city having to remove the property — in this case the shopping cart — and if it’s not paid on or before Dec. 31 the cost will be added as part of their property as taxes in arrear.

Violators of this bylaw could be fined between $75 and $2,000, or imprisonment for a period six months or under. That’s a steep punishment for carts that can cost between $75 and $400.