Over the span of a few days late last week, Canberra Concrete Recyclers co-owner Ian Oliver’s phone was blowing up with offers on a Clem Cummings bus shelter that he’d personally saved from the scrap heap.
The shelter had been dropped off to Canberra Concrete Recyclers for demolition by an ACT Government contractor, having been removed from its previous home on Ginninderra Drive, Dunlop, following a traffic collision.
“When this bus shelter came about, I thought there is no way on my conscience I could see this crushed,” Mr Oliver told Canberra Weekly.
After a few months, he made a call to the man who put Canberra’s bus shelters back on the map, Newcastle-based artist, Trevor Dickinson.
Mr Dickinson briefly posted an ad for the shelter across social media with Mr Oliver’s phone number, which saw him fielding offers “left, right and centre”.
After contemplating the logistics of handing the nine-tonne shelter to a buyer, Mr Oliver decided he’d keep the shelter on site by the weighbridge as a “smoko hut”, souvenir and talking point.
“We’re saving it, people might have seen that little ad of it being for sale,” he said.
“Whilst we received offers, we put it to one side … We didn’t want to see somebody hurt themselves putting it in their yard.”
As a lifetime member of the National Trust of Australia, in addition to collecting souvenirs and vintage cars, Mr Oliver has a strong sense of history, which in part motivated him to hold onto the shelter.
“If you ask me, I say they’re great, they’re very iconic for Canberra,” he said.
“We’re seeing Canberra change pretty radically these days … We’re a new city and heritage is going quickly. I’m opposed to anything being demolished that shouldn’t be.”
Having operated from their site under a flight path adjacent to the Canberra Airport since 1992, Canberra Concrete Recyclers produce “about a quarter of a million tonnes” of recycled building material every year, with roughly 200 trucks passing through each day.
“It comes in in the form of building waste, concrete or asphalt and is then reprocessed into building materials,” Mr Oliver said.
“We’re a true recycler, we pick, we pull waste material out of waste and currently send building waste to Veiola’s massive (landfill) site near Tarago … 300 tonnes per week.”
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