Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick says she is jumping out of her skin with excitement ahead of the first stage of Rotorua's lakefront redevelopment opening on Friday.
The comments were made at a Rotorua X social event on Wednesday night, which was held at the Regent Rotorua.
Chadwick's speech was tipped to lay out the council's priorities for the district, and the lakefront was one of many issues she traversed.
"People said just tart it up.
"We said no, we can do better than that. We've got a lake wall that needs a replacement over time, let's do something aspirational.
"This is going to be one of the most beautiful lakefronts in New Zealand."
The opening of the first stage of the new Rotorua lakefront boardwalk and lake edge is scheduled for Friday, but further details are under an embargo.
The lakefront project will cost $40 million, divided roughly in half between the Rotorua Lakes Council and the Provincial Growth Fund.
Chadwick also discussed the controversy surrounding the council's internal appointment of seven deputy chief executives, the recently approved 9.2 average rates rise, community safety concerns and other major projects.
"We've not been far from the front page of the Daily Post for far too long.
"I see that as a good thing. Because if we're not rattling cages then we're doing things that aren't going to make a difference for our community, and that's what compels us as a council to continue.
"You may have heard about the realignment of council as an organisation.
"This adds to the work our chief executive has done to build the capacity of the organisation over the last eight years.
"We've got huge challenges ahead, but I know we're on the right track to bring Rotorua out of Covid and be in a better position to do that. With your help, with our knowledge and our expertise that we're able to bring in, we can do this together."
She said the council was "facing challenges like we've never seen before" including growth, housing and infrastructure.
"Our population is now predicted to grow by 10,000 in the next 27 years.
"It's not rampant growth but it's certainly growth and we've got to meet that head-on.
"To work, to face those challenges differently, and to be outward-facing with you the community, our administration had to change, and that in itself has been controversial but I'm right behind the way that they work."
The council's decision last week to establish a Three Waters committee - made up equally of councillors and mana whenua representatives - was a "leading edge way of showing the rest of the country that here in Rotorua we understand about the value of partnerships".
"When you understand about working together as a council you get that proposition right to face the huge infrastructure pressures that we've got."
She said the issues the council was facing "hasn't taken [it] away from public scrutiny".
Referencing a 2017 Maxim Institute report, she said some had said "Rotorua was going to be a ghost town in 2030 and just grow trees, and we said 'like hell we are'."
"We are going to be a growth community because we understand the value of our place and our people. That's come to be true.
"Community safety was the front page every day, as if it was council's issue to solve alone. What we learned, no it isn't, it's about how we work with our police, it's how we work with MSD to sort out the homeless.
"For the first time ever we also stepped out and said community safety really matters to us. So what does council do about community safety? Tania [Tapsell]'s not going to go out there and become a safety warden on the streets and neither am I."
She said the council was instead investing in things like forensic intelligence - part of $500,000 more every year for the issue for the next 10 years in the council's Long-term Plan.
"We're investing in our Aquatic Centre, yay.
"We're going to get a bombing pool. Those things matter, when you're going to move to Rotorua, they say, what sort of infrastructure has that place got?
"We have got over $250 million from central government coming in to partner with your money, ratepayer money, to do these aspirational projects like the restoration of the Bathhouse (Rotorua Museum), the Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre, the lakefront and those also zones in the forest. I find that absolutely aspirational."
The council closed the Blue Baths building on January 26 because of seismic vulnerability concerns which ultimately found the building to be earthquake-prone. The council has not yet announced its plan for the building.
"I'm phoned by other mayors to say, how on earth did you get that level of funding out of central government? It's because we as a council believe in partnerships.
"It's not rocket science, it's about how you work together."
She said the council realised it would have to spend "a little bit more than we thought" on the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre and the museum after finding more issues with the buildings than initially anticipated.
"So yes, you've got an average 9.2 per cent rates increase, to deliver what is planned for.
"Have a little look around you. Have a look at Tauranga, have a look at Western Bay. You cannot get growth unless you invest in growth. That's what we believe in and we've been upfront about that.
"This is the upfront investment to carry on to do what we're doing.
"Our debt will rise by $197m, that's massive, but when you look at the investment in the infrastructure alone, that's $470m, so our debt rising up to that level still gives us headroom in what you call debt to equity, so that we can manage challenges."
Rotorua X chairman Darren McGarvie said the non-profit organisation existed to "inspire and connect" the business community.
Its "Connect" events are run monthly and are free because of its sponsors, who include, among others, Rotorua Lakes Council and the Firestation.