The Comox Valley Regional District has never had an Indigenous voice on the board, until now.
When Richard Hardy brought up his concerns about the need to get K’ómoks First Nation involved with the district last year, he got a simple response.
“They pointed the finger at me and said… ‘good luck.’” he told Comox Valley News.
As it turns out, with a lot of hard work, luck was on his side.
Hardy won his seat from Arzeena Hamir by 23 votes—766 to 743.
It was a close race. Hardy credits his success to the many people who supported him in his campaign, and his singular focus on sharing what he wants to bring to the board.
“Wherever there were doors, I went and knocked on them,” he said.
“I know there was a lot of divisiveness within the Valley—smear campaigning, kind of like Trump stuff… but I just chose not to go down that road. I just tried to stay focused on what it is that I bring to the table, and not focus at all on what other people were doing or saying. I just stayed in my own lane.”
That’s definitely a good way to get to your destination, but it’s not always the easiest.
Now that Hardy has reached the table, he knows this is just the beginning.
“I was born and raised here…so I care very much for the Comox Valley,” he said. “To me, reconciliation means inclusion from the CVRD side of things, but also from the KFN perspective… we need to be participants and be part of that inclusion, and be involved in the process.”
Hardy has been involved in different groups around the Comox Valley for more than 10 years. He’s also a councillor with the K’ómoks First Nation. He’s worked on economic issues as well as land stewardship.
“Stewardship never went away from the K’ómoks First Nation perspective,” Hardy says in a story on Coast Funds. “With regards to our authority, jurisdiction, governance, and management of the resources within our traditional territory, it has never gone away. But we’d like to re-establish those aspects and get federal, provincial, and local governments on board.”
He’ll be working with incumbent regional directors from Areas A and C, Daniel Arbour and Edwin Grieve, to try to prioritize this for our communities.