June 13, 2014 - 3:13 PM
ARMSTRONG - Murdered Armstrong teen Taylor Van Diest’s family is looking to the community to help keep her memory alive.
Taylor’s mother Marie pleaded with the City of Armstrong for assistance weeding and watering along the Taylor Jade Van Diest Memorial Trail, which has become overrun with weeds, but the city will only agree to keep the paved walkway clear, its standard for all city trails. Any other work will have to come from the community at a work party set for June 21, a couple days before the trail’s one year anniversary, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The city will pick up the refuse following the work party.
“I’m hoping men will bring their muscles and women their eye for beauty,” Marie says. “We don’t want to see the trail fall into a state of disrepair, to me that would be so sad.”
Taylor’s killer, Matthew Foerster, was found guilty of first degree murder in a Kelowna courtroom in April and sentenced to life in prison. A month later, his father, Stephen Foerster, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in Taylor’s murder and was handed a three year jail sentence, minus the time he already spent in custody.
The trail marks the place Taylor was killed but it also symbolizes the community’s resilience to the darkness that fell there Halloween night 2011.
Marie visited the trail this June 11, Taylor’s birthday, to wish her well on the day she would have turned 21. It’s a place Taylor’s twin sister Kirstie visits often.
“She’s always gathering new things to put on the trail. She just wants to keep it looking beautiful,” Marie says. “She got herself a weed whacker and resigned herself to a special area she’ll try to keep maintained.”
Kirstie decorates the trail for every special occasion and holiday. A heart on Valentines Day, an ornament for Christmas.
“We bring the holidays to her,” Marie says.
Taylor’s uncle Paul Albert is disappointed the city isn’t doing more to keep the trail looking beautiful.
“It’s not only letting us down, it’s letting the town down,” Paul says. “It’s letting Taylor down, letting her memory slide away.”
Donations for the trail poured from the hearts of people all over B.C. and even outside Canada, Albert says. He’d hate to see all the effort and kindness that made the trail possible fade away in a tangle of weeds. Beyond that, he has safety concerns about the overgrown bushes along the trail, worrying someone could hide in them. The trail was, after all, made to prevent tragedy from ever ocurring there again.
“We hate asking for help,” Albert says. “We shouldn’t have to.”
Anyone wishing to lend a hand June 21 is asked to meet on the trail between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and to bring gardening tools and wheel barrows if they can. Parking is available at the trail head on Pleasant Valley Road.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014