Project Summary

Hand-in-hand with the community, Sunshine Coast Council is looking to protect, manage and enhance one of the region’s most loved areas, one that holds enormous environmental, recreational, and cultural heritage significance.

Council has been working closely with the community and independent specialists to gain ideas to guide the development of the draft Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park Master Plan. The 2023 master plan is a vision for the future.

Over a two-year period, Council has engaged with more than 2000 members of the community who have shared feedback about this place today and ideas for its improvement. You can read more by clicking the Community Engagement tab at the top of this page.

Council assessed the community’s feedback on the draft master plan alongside the values, vision and design principles for the area to prepare a final master plan.

This final master plan was endorsed at Council’s Ordinary Meeting on August 24, 2023.

From there, Council will seek funding and grant opportunities to implement the master plan in stages, over the coming years, as funding becomes available.

For further information as this project progresses, please visit the project page here.

Proposed Pet Access Changes

Council is proposing some changes to pet access in this area. See the Proposed Pet Access Changes Info Sheet for more information. The changes will be subject to a local law amendment process which the community can have a say on later this year.

Draft Master Plan 2041

The draft Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park Master Plan is a vision for the future that aims to guide the balance between the ongoing protection and management of precious cultural heritage, its unique ecology and environment, while meeting the needs of the community who visit and use this area.

Responding to community and independent specialist input, the plan suggests guiding strategies and ideas for future improvement. Community feedback on the plan will help Council determine the final master plan, including the community’s priorities for future budget funding and delivery.

Proposed objectives towards a sustainable Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park

  • Enhanced community safety – ensuring a safer public realm for all to enjoy.
  • Sustainable pet access – by allowing dog on-leash areas, prohibiting dog access to some areas, and allowing additional dog off-leash beach access.
  • Enhanced environmental protection – for areas of significant habitat or cultural heritage.
  • Enhanced accessibility & recreational opportunities – improved pathway network (wider paths, improved surfaces, improved alignment).
  • More interpretive & educational elements – for nature based passive recreation and cultural heritage appreciation.
  • Improved facilities – upgraded park furniture, equipment, improved barbeque and shelters.
  • More shade – for pathways, furniture, playground, picnic areas.
  • Playground improvements – including interpretive/educational elements and increased play value.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Previous Community Engagement

Over the past 2 years, Council has sought extensive feedback from residents, community groups, businesses, experts, and key stakeholders to inform the development of the Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park Master Plan.

Stage 1 – Have Your Say

From 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
  • 100+ discussions with 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 at Buddina Primary School
  • Community Reference Group establishment
  • 1503 signature submitted to Council via a petition from Save Point Cartwright
  • 830 signatures submitted to Council via a petition to retain the dog areas.

We discovered that the community cherishes the area and wishes to maintain its unique and peaceful character, including the natural environment and the opportunity to exercise, often with their dogs. However, we also noted issues that require attention, such as dog-related concerns, traffic management, parking infrastructure, and upkeep of the spaces.

In terms of future aspirations, the community values for Council to embrace include the following:

  • The environment - preserve and enhance the site’s natural environmental values and scenic amenity.
  • 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.
  • Social and recreational - maintain social connections, exercise opportunities and pet-friendly activities.
  • Inclusive - create an inclusive place for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

In addition:

  • Residents and visitors love Point Cartwright and La Balsa Park’s unique natural environment, peaceful amenity and don’t want it to change too much.
  • One of the most important values for the reserve and park was the recreation, exercise, and active transport opportunities available.
  • Residents and visitors are passionate about dog access for different reasons. We need to work together to ensure sustainable pet access.

Maintenance and management items included:

  • Residents and visitors would like to see more shade, seats, and picnic tables to better enjoy the area.
  • Residents and visitors would like to see path improvements, including widened paths, more paths and separated bike and foot paths to improve safety.
  • A strong focus was to increase the frequency of maintenance, so rubbish bins, paths, toilets, and vegetation are better maintained and managed.

The retention and celebration of the natural environment:

  • Residents and visitors would like all visitors to Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park to appreciate the importance of the natural environment of the area and contribute to enhancing it.
  • Feedback included concerns for the biodiversity of the area, overcrowding and increased traffic.

Stage 2 – Have We got it right?

From 6 June to July 2, 2023 the community were invited to provide feedback on the Draft Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park Master Plan.

  • 1580 online survey responses
  • 87+email submissions to the project team
  • 233 signatures submitted to Council via a hardcopy petition to retain the dog areas
  • 3855+ signatures submitted to Council via an online petition to retain the dog areas

The project team used the feedback received to refine the guiding strategies, design responses, and recommendations for the area.

The key actions and amendments made to the draft plan as a direct result of the community engagement include:

Point Cartwright Reserve

  • Relocation of the barge landing to mitigate impact on nudibranch habitat and a popular diving site
  • Reviewed and updated vegetation regeneration proposals in the internal areas of Point Cartwright Reserve and on the exposed headland
  • A detailed review of the proposed pet access areas that resulted in:
    • Removal of the proposed dog off-leash extension on the eastern beach due to significant turtle nesting habitat
    • Addition of north facing path, between BA196 and BA197, as dog on-leash to facilitate an accessible loop path network

La Balsa Park

  • Additional angle parking added to Harbour Parade
  • Internal car park expanded to include an additional 8 bays
  • Exercise equipment added to plan
  • Minor amendments to the path alignment and circulation
  • Minor amendments to landscape / turf / revegetation extents

  • The master plan recommends reducing dog access in Point Cartwright Reserve to on-leash only, in appropriate areas, with the current extent of off-leash activity to be retained on the eastern beach.

    This means that dog owners will still be able to enjoy most of the site, while minimising the impact that their dogs have on other site values.

    Hear what the community had to say in the below video.

    Community Reference Group

    Through an expression of interest process a Community Reference Group (CRG) was established for this project. The purpose of the CRG was to provide a forum that ensures community views and needs are represented and provided to guide Council in the planning and management for this coastal area.

    The CRG brought local knowledge and individual skills and passion to help guide the project. The group consisted of an independent chair, appointed by Council, Councilor representation, and 10 community representatives chosen based on a range of interest areas and demographics ensuring the group was representative and inclusive of our diverse Sunshine Coast community.

    The CRG met 4-four times formally and several informal meetings. CRG feedback has contributed to the development of the draft master plan.

    Community Workshop

    A workshop was held for community members to contribute their valuable insights and ideas towards about the place and community today and collaborated to develop a collective vision for the future.

    School Workshop

    Year 5 students from Buddina Primary School enthusiastically shared their love for the place and unleashed their creativity to generate big ideas for improvements to Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park. Their thoughts, suggestions and ideas have contributed to the development of the draft master plan.