Our say | Bruce the Builder has left a lasting legacy

BRUCE Bolam’s legacy will not be only in the buildings he leaves behind but also the countless people he helped in our city.

Mr Bolam died on Saturday from a heart attack, shocking and saddening the city he had called home for more than 40 years.

When he first entered Bathurst with his family in 1974, Mr Bolam had no idea he was driving into the city he would never leave.

But in an interview with the Western Advocate in 2014, Mr Bolam said he and his wife Rosie instantly fell in love with the city and decided it was the place to rear their children.

The impact he has had in 40 years is nothing short of remarkable.

Mr Bolam served a term as councillor in the 1980s including a year as mayor in 1984.

His good friend and business colleague David Pennells said Mr Bolam’s foresight was second-to-none and it was his agitation that first saw money put aside to raise the wall at the Ben Chifley Dam.

Mr Bolam’s first business in Bathurst was a car yard followed by a wildly successful security business that he later sold to Chubb.

From there he entered property development with a passion that saw him greatly change the way Bathurst looks today.

Regularly working with Mr Pennells as his builder of choice, the pair completed high-profile makeovers of lower George Street (including the Tindalls Corner eyesore that had stumped all developers for 15 years or more), rundown areas of Russell Street and Keppel Street and a Manhattan-style loft apartment overlooking the magnificent Machattie Park.

But what made Mr Bolam so well respected in Bathurst was his willingness to share has success and to encourage success in others.

His business relationship with David Pennells was one built on trust and mateship, and the pair only ever signed a single contract together despite working on multi-million projects.

Scores of tributes on the Western Advocate Facebook page on Sunday recalled both Bruce Bolam the business man and Bruce Bolam the gentleman.

They spoke of a man with plenty on his plate but always time for a quick hello and a chat.

Nobody is perfect, but his was the embodiment of a life well lived.

Vale, Bruce Bolam.

You’ve been a friend to Bathurst and will be sorely missed.

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