Tamworth can't imitate Donald Trump and build a wall to keep the population down, according to council General Manager Paul Bennett.
The head of council told Tamworth's business leaders the town has no choice but to plan for a larger city.
He used his address at Friday's State of the City forum to talk up Blueprint 100, the council's plan to increase the population to 100,000 by 2041.
In an interview with the Northern DailyLeader Mr Bennett referenced US President Trump's infamous promise to build a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out to illustrate his point.
"We can't put a wall around the city and the region and say we don't want any more people," he said.
"If you don't grow you basically die, if you're not going forwards you're going backwards."
He also compared Tamworth's future with the epic growth of regional Queensland city Toowoomba through the 2000s, which he said ran into "pain points" due to inadequate planning.
His defence of the plan comes just weeks in advance of its public consultation, with the ambitious scheme to be put to the public from March 2 until April 9.
Mr Bennett told Tamworth's business community on Friday if accepted the plan would be Tamworth Regional Council's "Bible" for the next two decades.
One big distraction he identified is some of council's critics.
Social media has given a new megaphone to a "noisy minority" of unreasonable nay-sayers, he said.
But, he told the forum, when TRC last did a community survey they got a 91 per cent satisfaction rating in the community at large.
"There was a very smart person who once told me that 10 per cent of the community are idiots, so you should spend all your time dealing with the other 90 per cent," he said.
"And I think that's pretty true so that's what we try to focus on."
Mr Bennett said that meant council would focus on the concerns of the majority.
"Some people chose to be ignorant of the actual facts and will participate in conversations that really don't add value to the future of the city," he said.
"You've got to not be distracted by the noisy minority who might come out and say everything you do is just rubbish and you're a hopeless organisation when there is a large proportion of the community that really appreciate what's actually delivered and what they get."