FORMER Sydneysider Cecilia Hannon would have won many a fan as she described her affection for Bathurst this week.
"I love the stillness of the evenings here; the starry skies and the beautiful view of the mountains to the east," she told the Western Advocate.
"It makes me wonder how I went for so long with this place under my nose three hours away."
Ms Hannon, an administration worker, moved to the city last August and has brought her job with her.
The pandemic might just end up doing what public servants tasked with complex decentralisation projects have struggled to achieve over decades.
Advertising campaigns and slogans are nice, but theoretical.
Working from home during COVID, however, has provided a practical example to Sydneysiders that they don't necessarily have to commute to office towers in the CBD to perform jobs that are mostly computer-based.
And if they don't have to commute to the Sydney CBD, they don't have to put up with the eye-popping house prices and excruciating traffic that are part of the devilish bargain of living in this country's biggest city.
Of course, population growth for any regional city is a complex matter.
In welcoming new residents, Bathurst needs to ensure it gets the benefits - new economic activity, new ideas, even new businesses - without losing what makes the city attractive in the first place: its relaxed lifestyle, its affordability, its mix of rural and city charm.
That means planning now for the Bathurst we are going to see in the future.
Planning now means making sure our infrastructure will keep up with our new housing, our water supply will be adequate for the next long dry spell and our residents (new and old) will be able to get around our city without fuss or hassle even as density increases in the middle.
It's a big challenge, of course, but it's not one we should be afraid of taking on.
We've got plenty of starry skies to go around - for Ms Hannon, and those that will follow her.