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Coquitlam loses a longtime arts, environmental champion

A celebration of life will be held next month to pay tribute to Coquitlam's Roger Loubert.

A celebration of life will be held next month to pay tribute to a longtime arts, culture and environmental advocate in Coquitlam.

Roger Loubert died from prostate cancer at Crossroads Hospice in Port Moody on July 3, at the age of 75 — two days before his birthday.

A New Brunswick native, Loubert moved to B.C. nearly 50 years ago and made the French-Canadian neighbourhood of Maillardville his home.

And over the years he was a prominent figure in the community: He was the first photography teacher at Place des Arts, and was a board member of various non-profit and civic groups.

In the late 1990s, Loubert was also one of five petitioners who sued the city of Coquitlam — as well as the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the Greater Vancouver Housing Corp. — after the municipality sold the Brunette Avenue land where the former city hall was located, for new homes; that case was dismissed.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart told the Tri-City News on Wednesday that he saw Loubert at many community events, representing the interests of the organizations that he belonged to.

“He had a lot of strength and passion,” the mayor said, noting Loubert’s love for “la Francophonie.”

Johanne Dumas, the executive and artistic director of Société Francophone de Maillardville, which hosts the annual Festival du Bois, also remarked that Loubert “was a born storyteller with a love for the arts, history and people in general,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

Darcy McNeil, who now lives on Vancouver Island, described Loubert as a lifelong friend who “was often mistaken for my father, which we jokingly responded to by saying he was nothing more than my ‘spiritual father.’”

Both were founding board members of Tri-Cities Community TV and worked together on the Como Watershed Group and ArtsConnect; however, the Minnekhada Park Association was Loubert’s “pride and joy,” McNeil told the Tri-City News.

“He felt it was such a special place in the world and he dedicated the final decade of his life to supporting it.”

• To join the memorial for Roger Loubert on Aug. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m., email [email protected].