A SHAKESPEARIAN "comedy of errors" is how a Waterview Heights man described the work of Clarence Valley Council employees across the road from his Mulligans Rd home on Thursday.
"Well we paid for it, we might as well enjoy it," John Hagger said after he and a neighbour observed the workers finish up the garden planting.
He called the Examiner to come and watch the shenanigans after being told by a council employee he was not allowed to take photographs but, alas, we missed the action by minutes.
"I wouldn't have bothered if it was one bogged truck, anyone can get bogged, but that was just the start," Mr Hagger said.
He said the first truck, an estimated five-tonne dump truck, was driven onto the soggy and sloping reserve laden with compost soil and promptly became bogged to its axle.
"Then, for some strange reason, they drove a second truck, a slightly smaller one, right next to it and it got bogged," he said.
"So then they get this dual-cab council ute and try to snap out the five-tonne truck with some chain - they revved the hell out of the engine.
"When that didn't work they tried the smaller truck and that didn't work either."
Eventually a large earthmover was called in.
After dragging the first truck out, Mr Hagger said the tractor started to leave before the workers remembered the second vehicle and yelled for it to return.
"The whole time some of the workers are standing around doing very little because the trucks are bogged.
"Ratepayers are paying these blokes by the minute. It's scary," he said.
"There were six on-site workers and then two more to come and get them out.
"If you or I went and dug up the reserve like that we'd be charged by the police."
Mr Hagger said a different crew had come along earlier with the aim of unblocking a council stormwater drain but abandoned even starting the job an hour later because a new-looking digger wouldn't start.
"Apparently they can't use shovels in the 21st century."
Of great concern to Mr Hagger were the safety issues.
"At no time during the morning's festivities were safety cones posted on the road or were council workers directing traffic, despite there being many council vehicles and chains on the roadway," he said.
"And when the ute was trying to jerk the truck out, workers were standing far too close in case the chain snapped.
"This is more than just expensive fun at ratepayers' expense. Some of the actions were dangerous and reflect poorly on the outlook of CVC's management, both in their responsibilities to ratepayers and their apparent lack of appropriate training for council staff."
CVC declined to comment yesterday but said an investigation would be undertaken.
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