Demo for development begins

Ryal Bush Transport Ltd has been involved in many of our city’s major demolition and building projects; the Stadium collapse, redevelopment of our Airport, the new Kmart project, and the former Library building on Don Street to name a few. Now, under the leadership of Project Manager Russell Clouston, these experts are in charge of preparing the site for the new ILT Hotel. HANNAH McLEOD sat down with Russell to find out why Ryal Bush Transport Ltd has the right team for the job.

For Russell Clouston, demolition of the buildings on the corner of Don and Dee Streets will be a matter of “business as usual”.

Russell Clouston
Russell Clouston from Ryal Bush Transport Ltd.

Having spent more than 20 years in the contracting and health and safety industries in Western Australia, he’s no stranger to big projects, big machinery, and big challenges.

“The demolition part for us is easy. I’ve got lots of depth and experience in the company, so it makes my job easier having that tucked in behind me.”

Ryal Bush Transport Ltd is, of course, a Southland company. And that means for Russell and the wider Ryal Bush team, there’s an extra sense of pride in their work.

“This hotel’s a transformational type thing. People in Southland and Invercargill have been wanting it for a long time. So for us, it’s quite exciting to be right there at the pointy end doing these sorts of projects.”

For the public, the look of our city will certainly be transformational, with acoustic walls being put up around the site, and a container walkway put in to maintain pedestrian access on Dee Street – and that’s just the beginning.

“Being right in the middle of the CBD, the project comes with additional challenges to try and keep everything open,” Russell says.

“I’m trying to fit what I need to do, safely, into an active business area.

“We make ourselves available to all the people – knock on doors and give them a face and phone number. We understand we’re a disruption, but we try and do as best as we can.”

Logistics will certainly be important, as Ryal Bush has invested in some pretty awesome machinery.

“This project is quite exciting for us because we get to wheel out our big digger,” Russell says.

“Big” might just be an understatement in this case – that digger is 45 tonnes, with a 25-metre-long demolition boom.

“It was a big investment to buy that sort of gear,” Russell says, “so we’re quite excited to do that.”

Not to mention they have the right men to get behind the controls of that big digger, with a couple of Russell’s team members having 24 and 25 years’ experience respectively.

“Saying they’re ‘very good’ at what they do is probably an understatement. They’re very precise and really good digger operators are fun to watch. They make it sing and dance.”

Russell’s expecting plenty of people to share his enthusiasm for watching the process – but has an important message for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the demolition – please do so safely.

With traffic restrictions likely to be in play, and plenty of hustle and bustle about the city, it might be best to park elsewhere and walk down to the site to take a look.

“We also understand that what we do is pretty cool,” Russell says.

“It’s not the sort of stuff people down here in Invercargill see all the time. We’ve got a pretty cool job, and we need to do it the right way.”

When asked to sum up just why Ryal Bush Transport Ltd is the right company for the job, Russell was clear.

“For us, we’ve got a combination of the right gear for the job, the right experience, and the right attitude for health and safety. There’s also the fact we care about what we do as well.”

Of course, in typical Southland fashion, he was also humble – “I’m just a small part of what we do.”

The demolition begins with 11 Don Street, followed by the Kiln building. Next, work will move to the former Deka building, where Barluca is situated. These works will be undertaken between now and March 23, when demolition of the former Langland/Caledonian building is set to begin.

Updates on this project will be made available through Council’s website , various ILT and Council publications, as well as on Facebook: