Pegs pulled on Stuart Park tent city

A Wollongong City Council Australia Day blitz has put an end to illegal camping at one of the city's favourite festive hot spots.

There was not a tent in sight at North Wollongong's Stuart Park during the long weekend, as rangers and police actively discouraged visitors from erecting the illegal structures.

Yesterday a council spokeswoman said increased awareness and a proactive approach were the keys to the successful campaign.

"Our rangers were very present and active with police across the whole weekend from early in the morning to quite late in the evening ... [and] they've been taking a very proactive approach," she said.

"If you can get to people before they [erect] a tent then usually they're pretty understanding.

"This approach was a trial to see if we could bring about some better behaviour and [it was a way] of doing it in a positive manner, rather than in a punitive way."

Rangers issued one warning to a group who had erected a tent on Sunday morning, but they promptly removed it.

No fines were issued for illegal camping at the weekend, and illegal parking was reduced with an additional parking area in Stuart Park.

The crackdown on illegal camping comes after the park turned into a tent city on New Year's Eve when revellers set up camp and partied overnight.

In the lead-up to Australia Day, the council erected new signage in the park depicting the difference between a shade structure and a tent and specifying hours when shade structures were allowed. They were also warned penalties for illegal camping exceeded $100.

The council will consider rolling out the campaign should illegal camping become an issue in other coastal suburbs in future.

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