LAKE Macquarie City Council has given long-term campers at Morisset Showground until the end of the month to vacate the venue.
A boom gate will soon be installed to better regulate access to the showground for campers and venue users with bookings.
The council is enforcing state government regulations that dictate campers stay no longer than 50 days at the showground.
The issue of long-term campers at the venue has been divisive.
The former managers of the showground, the Morisset Showground Trust, had argued the long-term campers were an important source of revenue and security for the venue.
But groups who hired the showground for events would sometimes complain about the presence of the campers.
A spokesperson for the council said camping was encouraged at the showground, but stays were limited to 50 days a year.
"Council is required to operate the facility in accordance with the Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2005," the spokesperson said.
"The state regulation dictates the maximum length of stay in a caravan park or campground is for a total of 50 days in any 12-month period.
"It appears the previous trust manager was not adhering to this and long-term camping had been permitted. Council is now legally required to act in accordance with the Section 68 licence.
"Longer staying customers on tourist sites have been informed they need to vacate the campground by June 30."
The council emphasised camping was encouraged at the showground, which was better equipped than ever to provide an affordable base for visitors to the area.
"The campground has a mixture of powered and unpowered sites available for short-term camping and makes a convenient base if you are travelling around the area or looking to settle in for a few weeks to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Lake Macquarie and Morisset," the spokesperson said.
Powered sites are available for $25 per night for two people.
The vehicle entry gates to the showground are now often locked, with access available to those who book for the showground, or those who book to use the campground, the council said.
"Pedestrian access is available at all times," they said.
"A boom gate will soon be installed to improve the out-of-hours access for campers and showground users with bookings."
The newly formed Morisset Showground Community Operating Committee will manage bookings. The committee is expected to be appointed by July.
It will comprise regular venue users, including representatives from Morisset and Lake Macquarie District Agricultural Show Association, Southlakes Men's Shed, and Morisset PCYC.
The PCYC will manage the monthly markets.
"A caretaker engaged by council manages the camping, while the Morisset Showground Community Operating Committee will manage the showground and facility bookings (for events, activities and shows). This is similar to all other sporting facilities managed under delegated authority from council," the spokesperson said.
"Once the committee is formally appointed, we would like to hear from any groups or organisations who may be interested in using the facility for events, activities, expos and more.
"It is a wonderful facility for Morisset and council is very excited about the future use of this facility and the opportunities that it presents for the local community."
Council accepted management of the showground in March, following a request from Crown Lands.
A state government-appointed administrator had been in charge since 2017.