FORMER Warrnambool City Council engineer Don Cooper MBE has died, aged 87.
He was married to Cecilia for 64 years and they had three children – Geraldine, Min and Peter.
Former council town clerk, city manager and chief executive officer Vern Robson said it had been a “privilege” to work with Mr Cooper.
“Throughout his most purposeful lifetime, Don touched the lives of many thousands of people,” he said.
“He loved his family, his church and his professional work as a very talented engineer who made such a remarkable and lasting contribution to the city of Warrnambool.”
Mr Robson said Mr Cooper would be remembered for the “significant achievements” he accomplished as city engineer.
Mr Cooper’s legacy includes the installation of roundabouts in the CBD, traffic lights along the Princes Highway, the development of free off-street car parking areas within the CBD, and the reclamation of areas such as the Thunder Point trotting track, Harris Street Reserve and the old Braithwaite Street tip.
He also was involved with the development of industrial estates, with ‘Cooper Street’ named in his honour.
Mr Cooper helped facilitate major upgrades of facilities and play areas at Lake Pertobe and the restoration of the Wollaston Bridge.
He was involved with the construction of the Warrnambool Performing Arts Centre and the art gallery and initiated the installation of gas heating at the Warrnambool Olympic Pool.
Mr Cooper also implemented the Warrnambool planning scheme.
“His vision and foresight with this scheme has resulted in the ongoing growth and prosperity of this city during the past 35 or more years,” Mr Robson said.
Mr Robson said Mr Cooper was “greatly respected and admired” by his workmates and elected councillors.
“Without a doubt, Don has made a most important personal contribution to ensure the ongoing progressive growth of this city will continue in the years ahead,” he said.
The council’s chief executive Bruce Anson paid tribute to Mr Cooper, saying: “(He was) the smartest person I’ve worked with.”
“He was an absolute visionary and he had the ability to simplify complex issues so people could work to an outcome,” Mr Anson said.
“Many of the assets in this city, as well as our pride in its presentation and cleanliness, stemmed from Don.
“He is someone I admire greatly.
“He was a brilliant negotiator and a thorough gentleman.”
A funeral for Mr Cooper is on Friday at 2pm at Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church.