Kurt Alberts has gone from Langley Township employee to its mayor and now a Queen's Jubilee Medal recipient.
As a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Township was given a medal to present to a community builder, and Township council chose Alberts.
Created to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty's accession to the throne, the medal is presented to those who have demonstrated dedicated service to their peers, community, and to Canada.
"Whether guiding the evolution of our community as the Township's Director of Community Development or demonstrating leadership and vision as our mayor, Kurt Alberts has helped create an exceptional quality of life for residents by advocating for improvements throughout the community," said Township Mayor Jack Froese, who presented the medal to Alberts.
Alberts started as a planner in Ontario before coming to B.C. In 1981, he and his wife Brenda moved to Fort Langley, where they operate the Birthplace of BC art gallery.
Alberts served as Langley Township's director of community development from 1981 to 1997, then took on a role as an elected official when he became mayor from 1999 to 2008.
During that time, he was instrumental in developing the community of Walnut Grove and the Township's Rural Plan and worked to get the Greater Vancouver Regional District to recognize Langley as a Regional Town Centre in the Livable Region Strategy adopted in 1996.
With a passion for preserving green space, Alberts took on initiatives such as the Township's Arbour Ribbon, the Fort-to-Fort Trail, and the expansion of Derby Reach. He helped develop the Hope Redwoods natural area and worked to secure significant areas of wildlife habitat in the West Creek Wetlands.
Alberts contributed to the Adopt-a-Street Program, helped create additional playing fields in Aldergrove, and worked to develop partnerships for the Langley Events Centre. He was also committed to the dredging of the Bedford Channel and waterfront development in Fort Langley, and to the creation of Langley's Gateway of Hope.
Alberts has been recognized for his dedication to heritage conservation and for his volunteer service as a Rotarian.
The presentation came as part of the annual celebration of local pioneers.
More than 200 Township and City pioneers and dozens of guests attended the Douglas Day celebration at the Langley Events Centre.
Residents who are at least 70 years of age and have lived in the Township or the City for more than 60 years also enjoyed entertainment, shared stories and memories, and socialized. The event is held each year to pay tribute to pioneering families whose hard work, values, and traditions helped shape the community. It commemorates the founding of the Crown Colony of British Columbia in Fort Langley on Nov. 19, 1858, and recognizes the appointment of Sir James Douglas as B.C.'s first governor.
Douglas Day has been recognized in the Township since the 1920s and the banquet has been held annually for more than 60 years. In 1946, the celebration of Douglas Day was established by municipal bylaw.
While many municipalities in the Lower Mainland celebrated Douglas Day in the past, Langley is one of the few to continue the tradition.