Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park Master Plan
  • Last updated:
  • 14 Dec 2022

The Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park Master Plan is being undertaken by council and proposes to guide the future use and management of this coastal area, balancing the needs of users and the environment, for all the community to enjoy.

Development of the Master Plan

The Master Plan seeks to consider the future of the project area up to 2041, with a focus on the next 10 years. The project includes an analysis of the site, uses, opportunities and constraints, the community’s values and vision, and associated actions, priorities, and costs for implementation consideration.

Currently the Master Plan is being drafted by a consultant team of specialists. A draft Master Plan will be presented to the community for feedback in early 2023. 

The plan is being developed over five project stages.

Stage 1 - Investigation and analysis - Complete

Stage one included analysis and collation of data associated with the site. 

A data survey and investigation study were undertaken, to understand how the site is currently used. 

Specialist background reports were undertaken to outline environmental, cultural heritage and recreation value of the site.

Find out more by visiting council's News Centre.

Stage 2 - Values and vision - Community and stakeholder engagement Phase 1A - Complete

Stage 2 included community and stakeholder engagement to understand the key values and future vision for the area. The community had the opportunity to meet the project team and provide feedback at pop-up stalls and a community workshop throughout December 2021. See the Have Your Say website for more details.

In early 2022, the community were invited to share their values and future vision for the Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park area resulting in:

  • 2350 online survey responses 
  • 100 plus community members speaking to the project team at 3 pop up sessions at La Balsa Park
  • a community workshop at Kawana Community Hall
  • a school workshop and visioning session
  • first meeting for the Community Reference Group
  • 830 signatures submitted to council via a petition to retain the dog areas.

Since then, council received a petition with over 1600 signatures from the Point Cartwright Care Group Inc. requesting that council declare the site a Conservation Park to protect and preserve the natural environment. 

Ideas and opportunities - Community and stakeholder engagement Phase 1B - Complete

Council has collated all feedback received through the consultation process. What we have heard is that you love it as it is.
The visions and values you want council to embrace are:

  • The environment - preserve and enhance the sites natural environmental values and scenic amenity.
  • Inclusive - create an inclusive place for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy
  • Social and recreational - maintain social connections, exercise opportunities and pet friendly activities
  • Improve awareness - provide education and awareness of the rich history of the site, the environmental values, and the significance of the land for Kabi Kabi people.

The next stage of engagement will be translating these values and vision into a draft Master Plan.
Council will keep the community updated as the project progresses. 

Stage 3 - Development of the Master Plan - We are here

Based on community and stakeholder feedback, the design principles, concept Master Plan, and furniture and materials palette will be developed. The draft Master Plan will identify areas for protection, future uses, circulation, car and bike parking, and new infrastructure.

The background reports have highlighted extensive cultural and environmental value in the site which will need to be balanced with the recreation and community enjoyment of the area.

We are currently drafting the Master Plan. We will be back to the community for feedback in early 2023.

Stage 4 - Have we got it right - Community and stakeholder engagement Phase 2

Early next year, 2023 council will seek feedback through community and stakeholder engagement including an online survey, pop up stalls, meetings, and round table events, to test and confirm that community aspirations have been captured and incorporated into the draft Master Plan.

Stage 5 - Master Plan

Community and Stakeholder feedback will be incorporated into a final Master Plan and alongside the values, vision, and design principles, will guide development of the associated actions, priorities, and costs for implementation. The Master Plan will be presented to council for consideration.


The project locality plan[3575KB] indicates the project area.

Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park are much loved, having highly valued recreational, ecological, and cultural heritage characteristics. High cliffs in the coastal headland reserve provide spectacular views of Mooloolaba, the Mooloolah River mouth, Mount Coolum to the north and Kawana Beach to the south.
The Point Cartwright headland was a sacred place to First Nations peoples. It is understood that rock engravings existed of local flora down on the soft sandstone below the headland. The land is culturally significant to the Kabi Kabi people and perseveration of the natural environment is paramount.

The point has been a beacon to shipping since 1978 when the new 32 metre pentagonal lighthouse replaced use of the Caloundra Lighthouse.

La Balsa Park on the Mooloolah River is one of the most important protected lowland areas of the Sunshine Coast. A wide range of recreation facilities cater for the popularity of the park including three playgrounds, a fitness station, amenities, shelters, barbeque and picnic facilities, a wedding rotunda and boat ramp.

The park obtained its name from the famous 1970’s La Balsa expedition in which a raft made of balsa logs carrying four men and a cat travelled from Guayaquil, Ecuador to the Sunshine Coast.  The La Balsa expedition was to show that it was possible for contact to have occurred between pre-Columbian South American cultures and those of the Pacific region.

The reserve and park are regarded as some of the most beautiful environments on the Sunshine Coast. They offer people an opportunity to get away from the town centres and connect with nature and the ocean.

Community reference group

Council received over 40 submissions for the Community Reference Group EOI

The Community Reference Group was established and has had regular meetings and communications with specialists and council throughout 2022. This communication will remain on going until the Master Plan is complete.

Members will continue to update the community through their communication networks.


For more information, please contact council’s project officer at or on (07) 5475 7272.

Environment and Liveability Strategy

This is one of many projects council is delivering in-line with the Environment and Liveability Strategy, which provides long-term direction to guide growth and shape the future of our healthy, smart and creative region.