Camping on Wollongong City Council radar during festive period

Revellers at Stuart Park on New Year’s Day. While shade structures or tents are allowed during the day, they must be down by 6pm of an evening. Picture: Sylvia Liber
Revellers at Stuart Park on New Year’s Day. While shade structures or tents are allowed during the day, they must be down by 6pm of an evening. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Illegal camping was high on the agenda when hundreds of people visiting the city’s foreshore parks and reserves were spoken to by Wollongong City Council rangers and police over the festive period.

The issue of illegal camping has been a problem at parks such as North Wollongong’s Stuart Park for many years. Council doesn’t allow camping on its popular parks such as Stuart Park or JR Galvin Reserve. 

While shade structures or tents are allowed during the day, they must be down by 6pm of an evening. 

A council spokesperson said council rangers worked with NSW Police over the Christmas and New Year period across the city, including the public reserve at Stuart Park.

“The main aim was to encourage community safety in all parks and reserves along the coastal area of the city,” the spokesperson said. 

“All the foreshore parks and reserves were busy over this period and there were hundreds of interactions between council’s rangers, police and visitors.

“Overall there was improved compliance in relation to illegal camping and public safety issues.

“What was pleasing was the compliance and cooperation that was achieved through council and NSW Police working with visitors and park users to ensure a safe experience for those attending the New Year’s Eve event.”

According to council, they don’t yet have data regarding cautions and penalty notices issued for illegal camping across the Local Government Area over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period.

“This information will be collated in coming weeks,” the spokesperson said. 

Tents and sun-shade structures were littered throughout Stuart Park and surrounds on New Year’s Day. 

Each year, the small patch of prime real estate between Puckey’s Estate and North Wollongong Surf Club typically becomes a tent city.

While remaining a popular spot, Stuart Park and surrounds didn’t appear as heavily populated with campers on New Year’s Day morning compared to recent years, perhaps due to the prior evening’s chilly weather.