FORMER Warrnambool mayor Bob Barham is being remembered as a visionary.
Mr Barham, along with then Warrnambool City Council engineer Edward 'Johnny' Johnson and councillors, was part of the brains trust behind the creation of Lake Pertobe in 1976.
Mr Barham died in Melbourne on Monday at the age of 89.
Former council chief executive officer Vern Robson said Mr Barham had a big impact on the city.
"Bob just loved Warrnambool and anything to do with Warrnambool," Mr Robson said.
"Bob was a wonderful promoter of the city and region even though he and his wife Gwen moved to Melbourne about 20 years ago.
"Lake Pertobe used to be a snake-infested swamp. We were all ashamed of what was down at Lake Pertobe.
"There used to be rubbish everywhere but with Bob's vision and that of the other councillors plus Johnny Johnson, the area was transformed into Lake Pertobe.
"We used to have various planning discussions about ways we would do things at Lake Pertobe and Bob was always front and centre offering ideas and suggestions.
"We ended up planting 30,000 trees down at Lake Pertobe in the late 1970s. I know when Bob and Gwen would visit Warrnambool in later years they would always pay a visit to Lake Pertobe.
"Bob was also instrumental in Warrnambool winning the Victoria Premier Town title in 1979."
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Mr Barham's son David said his dad was always passionate about Warrnambool.
"Just last week Bob was talking up Warrnambool," David said.
"Bob was a great husband, father, grandfather and friend. He loved life and he loved people.
"He will be missed but remembered as someone who made an enormous contribution to the community. We will always smile big when we think of him."
Former long-serving city councillor and former mayor Jack Daffy said Mr Barham was a wonderful entrepreneur.
"Bob was always coming up with ideas on how to promote Warrnambool," Mr Daffy said.
"I used to be amazed with all the ideas that Bob would come up with for Warrnambool. He would try anything.
"I'll never forget in about 1978 he organised a fundraiser for the South Warrnambool kindergarten in Liebig Street which became the forerunner for the Wunta festival."
Mr Barham was a businessman and community volunteer. He was honoured with life membership for the work he did helping establish Heatherlie Homes.
Mr Barham's funeral will be held in Warrnambool next week.
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