The plan to build a cross that would tower over Kembla Grange sparked a massive public response - both for and against.
During the public exhibition phase Wollongong City Council received 115 submissions - 95 in support of the 32.5-metre cross.
However, one of those 20 opposing submissions included a petition with 476 signatures.
Many of the online submissions of support identified themselves as Macedonian, the same denomination as the Svetla Petka church building the cross, or holding a religious faith.
"This magnificent symbol of faith will not only be a source of inspiration but will also serve as a positive representation of our local Illawarra community," wrote R Jankovski.
They also said the large metal cross would enhance the "natural beauty" of Mt Kembla. Coincidentally, many other submissions in support also referenced the "natural beauty" of the mountain, while also suggesting a giant cross would add to it.
For S Stanojevic the cross "will serve as a symbol of faith, unity and hope for the large Macedonian community in the Illawarra".
S Srbinoska insisted the cross would bring tourists to Wollongong, much like the Nan Tien Temple.
Tourism was another justification brought forward by a number of supporters, though almost none explained how this would happen.
One of only people among the 95 in favour who did was J Jonceski.
"This proposal has the potential to put Wollongong on the map as a cultural and spiritual destination for the Macedonian Orthodox community," they said, "similar to other leading spiritual destinations in the Illawarra - the Nan Tien Temple for Buddhists and the Sri Venkateswara Temple for Hindu communities."
The main problem objectors had with the cross was that it was well in excess of the nine-metre limit for the site.
One suggested there was no correlation between height and faith.
"If the cross was reduced in size to be below the legal height limit, it would not impact the worshippers' ability to worship," wrote R Lear.
The development application attempted to justify the height of the cross because Australia already has a fondness for large structures and monuments.
But one objector wasn't buying that.
"While Australia has a history of large things, these are secular developed with community support, and represent a local character, agricultural product or a famous local," said T Stoneman.
"Examples are the Big Pineapple, Big Potato and the Big Bogan. Australia's large things do not include religious symbols."
P Frankis noted that Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed there is a steady decline in people identifying as Christians and a rise in other faiths.
They wondered how those growing faiths would feel about a giant cross on the escarpment.
"Like an advertising billboard it conveys the message that this locality is Christian to the exclusion of other faiths and beliefs and non-beliefs," they said.
Amanda Toole, who started the petition that gained more than 300 signatures, was concerned about the precedent this could set.
"It implies that all other religious organisations should be granted the same right to construct monuments of their choosing, regardless of size," she said.
P Knight questioned the value of the cross to the Illawarra.
"The cross will not have a positive economic impact on the region," they said. "It would be a positive economic earner for the Svetla Petka."
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