A group of family and friends who swam across Lake Windermere in honour of Jay Carscadden in July pose before the swim in front of the tree at Windermere beach that was planted in Jay's memory.

Local landscaper helping salvage memorial tree

A Windermere family is hopeful their vandalized tree can be saved.

After vandals severely damaged a memorial tree at Windermere Beach Regional Park several weeks ago, a local landscaper has stepped up to help, and members of the family who planted the tree are hopeful it might make it after all.

“You just feel sick… it was shocking that anyone would do that, just shocking,” said Betti Carscadden, whose son Jay passed away in January of this year. “And then you get kind of feel mad, like who would do that?”

The tree, a greenspire linden tree, was planted in June in memory of the Carscadden’s son Jay. The family first noticed the tree had been damaged on the evening of August 11, and quickly reported the incident to the RCMP. Soon after, Rick Ferrier from Ferrier’s Landscaping contacted the family and initially offered to replace it.

However, after inspecting the tree, Ferrier told them that while it may never look quite the same, he felt it had a good chance of survival with the proper care and sealant.

“It needs more TLC of course, but we’re hopeful,” Betti said. “We’re really, very very appreciative (for Ferrier’s help,) and I’m really surprised… that was really nice of him.”

In July, the Carscadden family also organized a swim in Jay’s memory, as he was an avid swimmer and taught swimming lessons at Windermere Beach. Because Jay would regularly make swims across Lake Windermere in preparation of the annual Heart of the Rockies triathlon, his family decided a group swim across the lake with friends and family was in order.

About 30 swimmers, almost entirely close friends and family, participated and Betti said they are looking to make it an annual tradition each year on the weekend before the triathlon. Swimmers were well-marked, wearing identical caps and escorted by powerboats so that other boaters would be aware of their presence.

“It was neat, because people got that it wasn’t a race,” Betti said. “It was really fun, and it was a beautiful morning.”


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