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Published: 2000-10-16 00:00:00

Residents in the Whitehall – Te Tapui area have opted to pay a special rate to deal with the possum problem in their area.

About 70 landowners or occupiers live in the area between Cambridge and Matamata and have had problems controlling possums on their land, despite forming a control scheme with Environment Waikato’s assistance.

This week’s Environment Waikato Biosecurity Committee meeting heard the scheme was implemented in June last year and initial work was successful in reducing possum numbers to 4.6 percent residual trap catch. Easier country was tackled by the landowners themselves.

But the first monitoring done in February this year showed disappointing results, with 11 out of the 12 lines exceeding the 10 percent trap catch objective. The steering group was concerned and met with Environment Waikato staff to look at options.

At a community meeting in April the majority of landowners voted for a separate rate which they saw as being of wider community benefit. A further survey of all landowners was completed to ensure no views were left out and landowners overwhelmingly supported the idea of employing a contractor to undertake control work in the area.

Some small block holders were uncomfortable with poisons being used on their properties, but their property could be treated using different methods and some landowners opposed the rate. The Committee will recommend initiating a special order process to establish a separate rate for the area.