An innocuous Wollongong City Council debate over how best to capitalise on the city's growth quickly descended into schoolyard name-calling on Monday, as councillors clamoured to slag off Shellharbour.
Cr Bede Crasnich kicked off the discussion, remarking in jest: "Wollongong is better than Shellharbour, and we should have better opportunities."
These comments achieved a hearty "hear, hear" from other councillors and were quickly followed by further good-natured digs at the southern centre, as both Ann Martin and David Brown disparaged Shellharbour's shopping opportunities.
"I took the kids there and I thought I was in Parramatta because there wasn't anything that told me I was in Shellharbour," Cr Martin said.
"The thing I liked the most was the wind vanes [on Stockland's roof], mainly because it meant I could find my car because there was no point of reference because it's all inside."
Cr Brown was even harsher about its retail centre.
"I found the place a soulless, airless, noisy, claustrophobic dungeon and if GPT set up something like that, I'm leaving town."
Quick to defend her home turf on Tuesday, Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said she was surprised at Wollongong councillors' comments.
"We're really pleased with what we have here in Shellharbour and people come from far and wide to use our retail centre," she said.
"I'm really flattered they would compare our shopping centre to Parramatta because it's a big, big city so that is a compliment, and I think if they're having a dig at us, we must be doing the right thing."