Trail serves as memorial to Taylor

Family and City of Armstrong come together to ensure 18-year-old is remembered

A trail is being developed in honour of Taylor Van Diest

A trail is being developed in honour of Taylor Van Diest

Some good is coming out of an Armstrong tragedy.

The City of Armstrong, in partnership with the Van Diest family and the cooperation of Kelowna Pacific Railway, has announced the creation of the Taylor Jade Van Diest Memorial Trail.

The pathway will be built in memory of 18-year-old Taylor Van Diest, who was murdered in the city Halloween night 2011.

“The Van Diest family initiated discussions with Kelowna Pacific Railway to seek permission to build a walking path within the railway corridor between Rosedale Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road,” said Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper.

“The family approached council with their plan and we unanimously agreed. We understand the need of the family to heal after the tragic loss of Taylor, and for the community to move forward after the tragedy that took place.”

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 will be one of five sections identified in the plan, created by the Armstrong Spallumcheen Active Communities committee in 2009.

The Van Diest family will be solely responsible for the construction of the trail, including the management of donated goods and services.

“The project will be completed through the donation of materials and labour, and the family has been contacted by many willing to make it happen,” said Marie Van Diest, Taylor’s mother, whose brother, Paul Albert, will be the general contractor for the project.

“We’re looking forward to all of the work and activities that will take place to see our vision realized. We’re very, very excited to see it come to fruition.”

Added Albert: “We’ll follow through with this trail to make it really, really important for the community to see something come out of this. We can’t hardly wait to get in.”

The trail, upon completion, will be turned over to the city for ongoing maintenance. That also means the city has the ability to issue tax receipts for in-kind donations directly attributable to the building of the trail.

The Van Diest family and the city acknowledged the railway’s donation of a five-year lease for the use of the railway right-of-way.

Talks with the railway continue but the Van Diests hope to get started on building the trail as soon as possible.