.

The community can have a say on a five-year plan for Emerald Lake Park.

The Cardinia Shire Council document will guide activities, maintenance, promotion and improvements for Emerald Lake Park and Nobelius Heritage Gardens.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Collin Ross said an important part of developing the strategy was collecting information from the community.

“Welcoming more than half a million people per year, Emerald Lake Park is our premier park and tourist attraction in the Dandenong Ranges.

“Likewise, the Emerald Lake Park precinct is a popular destination for locals, day visitors and tourists from Australia and abroad.

“This is our community’s opportunity to contribute to the vibrancy of the precinct and to help shape its future – no idea is too big or too small!”

Emerald Lake Park covers about 52 hectares and features Lake Treganowan and Lake Nobelius as well as gardens and natural bushland.

It has about 10 kilometres of walking trails, paddleboats, fishing, picnic tables and barbecues, a wading pool open during summer, two playgrounds, a model railway, amphitheatres and shelters.

It’s one of the key destination points for the Puffing Billy Railway.

Nobelius Heritage Gardens is a four-and-a-half hectare heritage site, which was part of the world-famous Nobelius Nursery.

Swedish immigrant Carl Axel Nobelius started the nursery in 1886 and the park is preserved as a remnant of this historic enterprise, with many specimens of trees once stocked by the nursery.

The Emerald Museum, set within Nobelius Gardens, tells the story of Emerald’s colourful past through memorabilia, photographs, documents, contemporary records and family histories.

Cr Ross said the community consultation process included seeking feedback from all key stakeholders including visitors, surrounding residents, local businesses and community groups.

The council owns and manages Emerald Lake Park with help from Friends of Emerald Lake Park.

A volunteer committee manages Emerald Museum and Nobelius Heritage Park on the council’s behalf.

“The precinct operates through collaborative efforts between council, businesses, and community, so it makes sense that the vision for its future is a shared one,” Cr Ross said.

There’ll be a community engagement forum at the Emerald Lake Park Environment Centre from 1pm to 2.30pm on Saturday 4 August.

The Friends of Emerald Lake Park will host a free community barbecue prior to the forum, from 12.30pm to 1pm.

Bookings are required for catering and planning purposes and can be made at https://goo.gl/RDUiKg.

Consultation closes 5pm on Sunday 19 August.

The council is expected to consider a draft strategic plan for adoption later this year.

Visit to www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/elp to get involved.

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