JOHN Paul Young might not have been in Coffs Harbour last night but love was in the air.
More than 80 locals joined social capitalist and community development enthusiast Peter Kenyon at Artisti Di Espresso café to officially launch the Coffs Harbour Economic Strategy.
Coffs Harbour Mayor, Councillor Denise Knight, said having Mr Kenyon as the guest speaker highlighted the region's many positives which can be built upon in the Economic Strategy.
"The founding principle of the strategy is love - love of your city and community - and using that passion to create economic and social growth," Cr Knight said.
"It's a grassroots, bottom-up approach that taps into the talents and skills of our biggest and best asset - the people who live here," said Cr Knight.
Rather than looking for help from other levels of government or outside sources, Coffs Harbour's strategy fosters growth through localisation and love of the city.
It was developed through extensive community consultation and brought together by Coffs Harbour City Council's Enterprise Coffs division and Southern Cross University's Dr Grant Cairncross.
The action plans attached to the strategy revolve around themes such as Love our City, Local is Best, Knowledge Building, Invest Coffs and Welcoming Spaces.
Mr Kenyon is the founder and Director of the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. which incorporates the Centre for Small Town Development.
Over the past two decades he has worked with more than 1,500 communities throughout Australia and overseas, supporting fresh and creative ways to stimulate community and economic renewal.
"The strategy that the Coffs Harbour community has delivered is to be commended," Mr Kenyon told the audience last night.
"It's a more home-grown approach, one which is sustainable and self-reliant.
"Only when citizens share ideas, interests and expertise and translate that momentum into action, can a community thrive."
Community members from all walks of life attended the launch and were encouraged to write 'love notes' outlining their passion for their city, which were then attached to a Story Tree, which will tour the community for several weeks.