Possum bait stations and kill traps are to be set up in Park Island in the latest stage of the Hawke's Bay Urban Biodiversity Strategy, sparking fears from residents who regularly use the park to walk their pets.
The poisoning and trapping programme begins on August 7 and will stretch across Poraiti and Park Island to the fringes of Tamatea and Parklands.
Similar programmes have been previously undertaken in Napier Hill and Havelock North and the programme contractor is to soon begin contacting Poraiti residents about their options for setting up possum control on their private property.
Napier resident Art Thomas said his concern was with the measures earmarked for Park Island and he would no longer be walking his dog in the park if they were introduced.
"The vast amount of use the Park Island gets from pet owners - we ourselves are pet owners - yet we've received nothing in the mail about the intentions of the poisoning in the area," he said. "Animals that eat the product themselves then might be digested by pets. And, of course, there are children out there and children handle things that are on the ground, so who knows where it might end up in the form of contamination. The other side of it, too, is if a possum or animal does get into the traps, then how often are those carcasses picked up?
"It's such a populated and well-used area by children, adults and pets, that it raises questions as to whether there are other methods available for getting rid of possums, if indeed that is the big issue."
The programme was to be undertaken by the regional council but after a year, property owners would continue it on their own to keep possum numbers under control, so the traps and bait would stay in the park long term and be managed by Napier City Council (NCC).
Hawke's Bay Regional Council team leader of animal pest control Allan Beer said NCC was "100 per cent behind the operation".
"We're trying to remove the possums in our urban environment. We've done a similar project up in Napier Hill - we had no trouble up there with people walking dogs. People think poison and think that their dogs are going to die."
He said the bait stations would be placed off the ground and out of reach of dogs and there would be warning signs in place.
"His concern is about walking dogs around Park Island and I think [if] the locals and residents abide by the leash law, they should have no trouble at all."
There was a slight danger to dogs if they were not leashed, but even that was "very minor".
"We wouldn't be doing it if we thought children and pets were going to be in danger."
The bait stations used an anticoagulant that took between 10 and 14 days to kill a possum.