Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park Master Plan
  • Last updated:
  • 06 Apr 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. It will include an analysis of the site, uses, opportunities and constraints, the community’s values and vision, and associated actions, priorities, and costs for implementation consideration.

The plan will be developed over five project stages.

Stage 1 - Investigation and analysis

Includes analysis and collation of existing data associated with the site, undertaking new background studies as required.  A study gauging how the area is being used including finding out the number of prams, scooters, dogs, walkers, skateboarders, surfers and more, is underway. Find out more by visiting council's News Centre.

The background studies undertaken include environmental, cultural heritage and recreation reports. 

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

Stage 2 included community and stakeholder engagement to understand the key values and future vision for the area. The community has 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.

From the 29 November 2021 to 9 January 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 - thank you!
  • 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.

Ideas and opportunities - Community and stakeholder engagement Phase 1B

This phase includes community and stakeholder engagement to understand if we have heard the community. Feedback from Phase 1A will be distilled into themes. Based on these themes, potential ideas, opportunities and actions will be investigated. 

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.

If you feel something is missing please contact us via the webpage or on email to the mailbox.

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.

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

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 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

As per the Terms of Reference, nominations were evaluated against the criteria set out on the EOI form. The 10-member group is representative of the Sunshine Coast demographic. This includes 50% females and 50% males and representatives from each age group (aged 25 and under, aged between 26-45 years, aged between 46-64 years and aged 65 years and over).

The first meeting has been held and members will be updating the community through their communication networks.

The Community Reference Group’s next meeting will be held in early 2022. 


For more information, please contact council’s project officer at PtCartwright-LaBalsa-MasterPlan@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au 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.