Taylor Van Diest would have liked the trail, not the attention.
On Sunday, Van Diest’s family and the community of Armstrong will officially open a trail in the city built and named in honour of Van Diest, who was murdered while walking in an area beside where the trail was built on Halloween night 2011.
The Taylor Jade Van Diest Memorial Trail will open Sunday at 11 a.m. at the north end of the trail, just off Pleasant Valley Road past Armstrong Elementary School.
“She certainly would have used it as it would have made texting easier for her with the smooth surface to walk on,” chuckled Van Diest’s mom, Marie. “I don’t think she would have liked the attention it’s drawn to her.”
The Van Diest family announced in August 2012, along with the City of Armstrong and the cooperation of Kelowna Pacific Railway, the creation of the trail.
In less than a year, through volunteer work and generous community donations, the trail has been completed.
Trees, bushes and hard, uneven gravel have been replaced by shrubs, plants, pavement and fencing.
Signs, a bench and a memorial board are expected to be in place for Sunday’s opening and, in the near future, the Van Diest’s hope that lighting will be part of the trail.
Taylor’s memorial trail is a 170-metre length of trail based on the existing conceptual Armstrong Spirit Trail Plan, a 1.3-kilometre trail through the city located within or adjacent to the railway right-of-way.
The memorial trail is one of five sections identified in the plan, created by the Armstrong Spallumcheen Active Communities committee in 2009.
The Van Diest family has been responsible for the construction of the trail, including the management of donated goods and services.
“We’re excited to open it,” said Marie. “Initially when the idea first went around through a petition, we knew then and there that the community was behind the idea of having a trail as a way of getting from point A to point B.”
M&M Meat Shops will host a barbecue by donation at the trail opening.