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Fond memories of former public works manager Don Belisle

BY JASON THOMSPON jason@northernlife.ca A 30-year veteran of city hall died Tuesday at Sudbury Regional Hall. Don Belisle Don Belisle, 54, worked his way through the ranks at city hall, eventually becoming commissioner of public works.
BY JASON THOMSPON

A 30-year veteran of city hall died Tuesday at Sudbury Regional Hall.

Don Belisle
Don Belisle, 54, worked his way through the ranks at city hall, eventually becoming commissioner of public works. He secured the position of general manager of public works in 2001 when the city amalgamated. He died of an aneurysm.

"Don's passing leaves a big hole for me," said Ward 3 Councillor Ron Dupuis. Belisle and the councillor were cousins and went to school together. The two worked together at city hall for six years.

"Don was a confidant, I really enjoyed our discussions and enjoyed the fact that I was able to go to him for advice when I needed it. He was certainly well respected by all of his employees and by members of council," said Dupuis.

In a move by the city to cut administration costs, Belisle, was forced into enter early retirement last December during a restructuring initiative.

Greg Clausen, a city engineer who worked with Belisle for five years prior to his retirement, said he will be remembered as a gentleman and "one hell of an administrator."

"For a non-engineer, he did as excellent job of running and administering the public works department," said Clausen, who first met Belisle in 1985 while working for the town of Valley East.

"We're going to really miss him. He always looked after the interest of his people."

Clausen said Belisle's legacy at city hall is the leadership he displayed during the city's amalgamation.

"He gave us calm, cool, stability during the transition period. He was there as a resource, he was there as an anchor, but didn't get involved in the individuals doing their individual jobs.

"He had a lot of faith and trust in his people, as well as high expectations and that encouraged some people to go the extra mile."

Bill Lautenbach, the city's director of planning services, called Belisle a champion for public works.

"I had a great deal of respect for Don and his staff had a great respect for him . . . he was a team player and I like that about him. If we had issues, we could talk them through and move towards a solution. "

Clausen said Belisle was in the process of converting his camp in the French River area into a permanent home and was looking forward to starting work for a local engineering firm.

His wife Carole, two daughters and three grandchildren survive Belisle.

The family will receive friends at the Co-operative Funeral Home at 222 Lasalle Blvd. Friday from 2-5 pm and from 7-9:30 pm. The funeral mass will be held Saturday at Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci Church in Coniston.