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The walking and mountain biking tracks in Waimate’s Point Bush Ecosanctuary are closing next week so wallaby control work can be carried out.

For public safety, all gates to the ecosanctuary will be locked from June 28 to July 9.

Point Bush Ecological Restoration Trust trustee Rose Tautari said contractors would be hand-laying Feratox pellets to target the wallabies that remained in the predator-proof fenced area.

The programme is fully-funded by Environment Canterbury.

The predator-proof fence that surrounds 90ha of native bush in Waimate was now fully enclosed, and an external hot wire that ran along the top was turned on last week.

The wallaby-control work was the next step towards to becoming pest-free wildlife haven, Mrs Tautari said.

“Once this operation is finished, we’re going to be moving then into plantings,” she said.

“It’s going to be really great to be able to actually do that.”

The trust was would be planting the area with natives, which would be locally sourced.

Trapping stations would be used to control other pests in the future.

“We’ve got a team of volunteers who are doing fantastic work looking after all that side of it for us,” she said.

The wallaby control work completion date of July 9 was subject to weather. All toxic baits will have been removed when the ecosanctuary reopens, but warning signs will be in place for four months. It is recommended dogs are kept out of the area during this time.

Mrs Tautari said this was to account for any bait that had been removed from bait stations, but not consumed by the wallabies.