Make no mistake, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have a lot of work to do. City centre businesses, battling the impact of losing about $400 million of consumer spending since Covid-19 struck, need a strong show of support. And the impact of construction must be managed better.
But, first and foremost, I think attitude is critical to successfully drive our recovery and make the most of every opportunity.
No matter where you are, people are excited to be out and about again in level 1 and, fortunately, there is a great array of events bringing people back to Auckland's city centre.
New attractions; concerts; exhibitions; events; Farmers Santa Parade; Smith & Caughey's Christmas windows - there is no shortage of interesting and delightful things to promote.
Some events are better for some businesses than others but they all act to remind people about what you can do in the city centre that is different from other parts of the city and the rest of the country.
Excitement is building for America's Cup now the boats are out on the water. Spark's 5G Race Zone, a free interactive sailing experience, is open on the waterfront and the race village opens on December 15, two days before the first racing.
As with many large-scale events, public transport will likely be easier than driving to the central city, although we do have parking buildings that will be open if you have to drive in. Let's get in the spirit of the occasion and come together, just like we did for the celebration when we won the Cup last time.
There will be plenty of information about what is on and where, and www.heartofthecity.co.nz how to enjoy the rest of the city centre during this time – eating out; Christmas shopping; staying in a beautiful hotel or friendly backpackers; and celebrating with family and friends after a year like no other.
It's also a chance to give a big show of support for businesses hammered by losing their customers in one Covid swoop.
But back to Auckland Council. A lot of money is being spent transforming the city centre and some of this will be on show around the waterfront area over the coming months. The private sector has also spent large amounts investing in the city centre. The key point for our council is to ensure the city is as inviting and accessible as possible at this critical stage of our recovery.
In terms of the current works, the impact on businesses, suppliers and customers has been seriously misjudged.
For example, during the most stressful time for Covid-affected businesses, a unilateral decision was made to experiment with change in Queen St.
I've appealed to the council's public duty to sort this out in time for Christmas and America's Cup. People can then enjoy the new areas of the waterfront and have a smooth and attractive transition while walking across to Queen St, a major connector to the rest of the city centre.
There are some key things that need to change regarding the ongoing transformation of the city centre.
Firstly, attitude. There needs to be a genuine acknowledgement that businesses are vital for economic recovery and vitality, and ratepayers' needs must be considered before decisions are made.
Secondly, planning must be more connected across the council group to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness so works are done once, done fast and done right.
Finally, innovation must progress a lot faster and performance must be held to account.
Six months ago, we were on a growth trajectory and about to see the first sign of "life behind the cones" with the completion of Commercial Bay and adjacent works. Covid delayed this and created economic carnage, seriously affecting a disproportionate number of city-centre businesses and threatening the return on large-scale investment.
The benefits of living, working, studying and visiting the city centre are strong. Some things will need to be done differently, including the way any future outbreaks are managed, but we are confident in the future for the city centre.
However, the recovery ahead will need everyone to play their best game and it's our Attitude Cup that must runneth over.
• Viv Beck is the chief executive of Heart of the City.