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16 March, 2022

Locals take action over trolley disgrace

A SMALL team of residents has hauled 15 trolleys belonging to Woolworths Atherton supermarket up from the creek behind the complex, as well as shelving and pallets that have been dumped into the waterway.

By Robyn Holmes

More than 15 trolleys were dragged from the creek behind Woolworths Atherton by a small group of residents disgusted with the mess.

The four adults and two children say they are angry that the trolleys and other material have been left in the creek, with no one seeming to want to take ownership of the issue. 

“We approached Woolworths (at Atherton) and are wanting them to try and ensure that all trolleys are locked up at night to avoid this in the future,” Tracy Seawright said, who brought her two children along to help with the clean-up. 

Clean-up organiser Tamlin Winlaw said she was disgusted to see the trolleys and other materials dumped in the creek but noted it had been an ongoing issue for at least 20 years.

“I used to see all the rubbish in there when I was a girl and attended high school – it’s been a problem for many, many years and we decided to clean it up,” she said. 

Ms Winlaw said the supermarket giant seemed to ignore the issue and it had taken a “motley crew” to take it on for the good of the environment. 

“We were a bit of a motley crew – two elderly people, two adults and two kids – we had to rig up a pulley system to try to drag them up the steep embankment.” 

She said Ms Seawright and her two children had approached the local Woolworths manager afterwards about the trolleys and other materials such as shelving and pallets, which had previously been stacked up in the car park area, being tossed into the creek. 

They were given a box of chocolates but no undertaking that the issue would be tackled in the future. 

“We think kids must be doing it because there’s a ramp there which makes a perfect runway for them to throw them into the creek,” Ms Winlaw said. 

Herberton resident Chris Chapman, who saw the cleanup post on Facebook and turned up to help, said she had noticed rubbish in Prior Creek when she crossed the bridge on many occasions, and also in the waterway at the back of Woolworths and just had to do something about it. 

“It has been a thorn in my side and I couldn’t do it on my own – it is so disgusting to see this happening and no one is taking responsibility,” Ms Chapman said.

She claimed that when asked what Woolworths was prepared to do about it, the manager said it was the responsibility of the trolley contractor. 

He claimed additional costs such as providing the crew with safety gear and overtime for doing the additional work were factors in why it was not being cleaned up. 

Suggestions have been made that Tablelands Regional Council should construct some sort of barrier to prevent the trolleys from being rolled into the creek. 

However, a council spokesperson said building a barrier would not solve the problem and that the responsibility for ensuring the trolleys do not end up around the streets or in the creek lay with the owners of the trolleys. 

Greens candidate for the Federal seat of Kennedy, Jennifer Cox, couldn’t agree more that the onus lies with Woolworths. 

“Thank you Tamlin and team for clearing up such a mess. It is a shame that with all the profit Woolworths made during the pandemic that they can't throw a few bucks or some labour at cleaning up their own property. Well done!,” she posted on Facebook. 

Late last week, Woolworths responded to an inquiry by The Express and gave a commitment to try harder to ensure discarded trolleys were collected and returned to the store.

“We are very disappointed to see this, and will be following up with our collection partners and team as a matter of priority to ensure the area is being checked for abandoned trolleys more frequently,” a Woolworths spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Tamlin has started a Facebook group, Tablelands Rubbish Rescue, so people can nominate sites that need to be cleaned and join the group in cleaning them up.

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