PLANS for a cafe and visitor centre overlooking a new section of the Bendigo Botanic Gardens have taken a step forward.
The City of Greater Bendigo has released its vision for empty space in White Hills between the gardens and the gardens of the future.
The vision calls for the land to become the park precinct's central hub and gathering space.
The White Hills pool would remain where it is.
A cafe could overlook new a new wetland or pond, as would a visitors centre that could double as a function space.
The visitor centre would be split in two to allow space for a mulberry tree already on the site.
Local historians believe the tree was planted by Chinese immigrants when they established a market garden there.
The area could also act as a cultural learning hub. Traditional owners the Dja Dja Wurrung have told the council they want to see a story told from an Indigenous perspective.
That could include encouraging schools to use the area. It would also mean telling the story of how the creek was turned into "upside down country" during the goldrush and efforts to restore it.
The Dja Dja Wurrung would also like to see monthly events highlighting cultural stories, as well as appreciation of the landscape and the traditional six season calendar.
The council says edible and medicinal plants used by Traditional owners could be showcased.
"Nardoo, Murnong (yam daisies) and wattle seeds are key bush tucker species that reflect the site's locational and cultural heritage," the council's vision document states.
"Lomandra is used for basket weaving."
The Friends of the Bendigo Botanic Gardens has urged the council to showcase the Bendigo region's flora and geography.
It would also like to see sculptures and shade in keeping with Bendigo's arid climate.
The council is urging people to give it feedback about the newly released vision.
It is yet to finalise its plans.
It is also yet to lock in funding, council presentations and assets director Debbie Wood said.
"The City will be seeking funding from both the Victorian and Australian Governments to undertake this building project, which we hope to have completed by June 2024," she said.