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Elphinstone Chronicles: The underground housing crunch

Also, no need to keep swerving at Payne Road

What conversation keeps being dug up on the Coast lately? Why, it’s the three cemeteries maintained by the SCRD and I hear about them everywhere. Allow me to bypass anything contentious, but stick to the trending cemetery theme. It has been a while since my last visit to the historic Elphinstone Pioneer Cemetery, one of the most enchanting places in Area E, and I thought I would go for some forest therapy. 

The SCRD has owned and operated this cemetery since 2014, and although they are not taking new residents at the moment (the Sunshine Coast housing crisis strikes again), a business plan for the Elphinstone Cemetery is currently being developed. A consulting agency was hired to help guide future operations. Our Area E Director, Donna McMahon, recently wrote an insightful article entitled Grave Decisions: Our Cemetery Master Plan which gives more details on the politics of owning graveyards. You can find it on her website, Everything Elphinstone. 

There used to be a sign at the bottom of the hill that read “For information pertaining to this cemetery please contact F.J. Wyngaert, pres.” This was wonderfully ironic since F. J. Wyngaert has been residing at the Elphinstone Cemetery himself since 1989, but unfortunately that sign was taken down. Not too much else has changed since my last visit. It’s a gorgeous area with graves dating back to 1919, the first belonging to a teenage girl who died from the Spanish Influenza. It is surrounded on all sides by tall, second-growth forest on a steep, mossy lawn which is dotted with large sword ferns and holly. The crumbling tombstones in the mountain mist are straight from a movie, but somehow not the scary kind.  

I do see the need for a “master plan” at our Pioneer Cemetery. Upgrades are necessary to improve the cemetery’s accessibility for anyone with mobility challenges. We should all have the opportunity to enjoy this site. And also, before you set out on your journey up the mountain, I need to warn you about the road to the entrance, because those potholes could definitely use some TLC. Although we know how long it takes holes to get filled in around here. 

Oh yes, have you heard the good news, or are you still swerving? We have been waiting a year and a half for what totalled an hour and a half’s work. That’s right, the collapsing culvert at Payne Road finally got paved over! Of course, old habits die hard. It was done last week but I still see you swerving. 

In other news, well known Elphinstone community members Vern and Marilyn Giesbrecht organised a rocking Scrabble tournament Feb. 11 at the Gibsons Public Library. Vern has been organising Scrabble tournaments for over 20 years, and this one booked up fully with the advanced registration. There were lots of prizes, and I look forward to participating in the one this autumn so I can finally use my ringer of a word, quixotic.  

A reminder that if you would like to join the Elphinstone Community Association and vote on the decisions that shape our community, the annual fee is due and is an extremely reasonable $10. Please phone the membership chair, René, for details 604-740-1286. 

I would love to hear feedback and take suggestions on topics. Email me at [email protected]