The Elphinstone Community Association (ECA) has been around for decades, although not in its present form. Before Elphinstone was an official district and when the town of Gibsons ended at the top of School Road hill, two organizations – Gibsons Heights Ratepayers and West Gibsons Heights Ratepayers – were the local associations. In those days, only property owners could vote, hence the name ratepayers.
When the regional district was formed, West Gibsons Heights became Elphinstone Electors Asso-ciation, which eventually became the Elphinstone Community Association (ECA). I spoke recently to Jim Gurney who was the area director when our family moved here in the 1980s and he suggested I speak to Dick Derby, who had moved to the interior for health reasons. Dick, who along with his wife Selma, lived for many years on Pratt Road, was a wealth of information. The Derbys hosted the Elphinstone Electors meetings in their home until the Frank West Hall was built in 1993. Dick was Jim Gurney’s alternate except for the three years he was operating the four dumps on the Sunshine Coast. He was also a school bus driver and I remember the bus being parked in his yard on Pratt in the 80s and 90s.
Active in the West Howe Sound Recreation Commission, Dick worked to establish parks in the area. He was most proud of the park at Soames Hill and the Whispering Firs Park. He told me that area used to be a forestry plot and that it was “a bit of a fight” to get it designated as a park. Student Ella Moorecroft won the competition to name it with her suggestions of Whispering Firs in 1984.
Dick Derby and the many people who have served on the Community Association boards over the years are owed a debt of gratitude. It’s difficult to imagine what our community would be like without good folk advocating for parks and better services and working without recompense to improve our communities.
I fondly remember Jim Bartley, who used to drop around to our house to collect our membership fee and one year managed to strong-arm my husband into being chair. I suppose he needed a break, since he was the association’s chair for many years. His wife Doreen at one time campaigned to get Elphinstone its own postal code. I recall her standing on the highway with a sign to that effect and at the time thought it would be nice to use Elphinstone as my return address. A cousin recently visiting from Toronto thinks the name is straight out of a Tolkien novel. A column is in the works to discuss the origins of the name, so stay tuned. If you have any information about this or any other topic, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org