Whanganui district councillor Helen Craig said it was thrilling to be at the Dunedin ceremony when Whanganui was named New Zealand's most beautiful city.
She and Mayor Hamish McDouall attended the awards and Craig said it was a wonderful night.
"We were so excited when the announcement was made because it is an endorsement for Whanganui community projects that meet the criteria for the awards.
"It is not skin deep, it acknowledges sustainability initiatives."
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McDouall congratulated Lower Hutt, the runner-up to Whanganui.
"They have some great sustainability and waste-reduction initiatives as well.
"I want to express my thanks to all those people in Whanganui who work so hard in the community to recycle and reduce waste.
"I also congratulate Helen Craig for entering Ridgway St."
The council entered the city in the competition organised by Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) and Craig personally entered Ridgway St into the Best Street category which also won the category.
"I was inspired by Feilding which has won a number of KNZB awards and they have it on their welcome signs."
The Beautiful Awards is an annual competition that recognises the environmental excellence of individuals, groups, businesses and schools.
Craig said while Whanganui was beautiful and had plenty to be proud of, there were downsides.
"When a city experiences the growth we've recently had in Whanganui, some people get squeezed out.
"Two years ago, we didn't have a housing problem and our housing strategy will address the shortage we have now.
"It's not just a document, it's a plan."
Chief executive of the council's business arm, Whanganui and Partners, Mark Ward said the Most Beautiful City award made him proud.
"Both awards are an affirmation that we are doing things right in terms of business growth and sustainability."
In terms of inclusiveness, Ward said Whanganui and Partners' role was to support economic growth that would benefit everyone.
"We want to attract visitors and encourage families to move here but we also need to make sure economic growth benefits everyone.
"People living in Whanganui need to be able to afford to pay their mortgages and rents."
The judges visited Whanganui in September to look at local initiatives.
KNZB's chief executive Heather Saunderson and celebrity judge Michael Van de Elzen liked what they saw.
Van de Elzen was especially impressed with the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre.
"The recycling centre was just incredible and really set Whanganui apart – I wish every town and city could have one," he said.
Saunderson observed that: "Whanganui has got a lot of really energised people, making a lot of great strides and change."
She congratulated the council for leading the initiatives and said they could not work without community backing.
McDouall said Whanganui's rapid population growth in recent years was great but also raised sustainability challenges.
"We need to think about how big we can realistically get and that is a priority concern for me and for the council."