Twenty-nine years after moving to Cape Dorset and serving as the community’s mayor and MLA, Fred Schell is packing up and leaving for the Calgary area, where his brothers reside.
He, his wife Ezevallu Qatsiya and their two children are scheduled to depart on Friday.
Schell started out in Cape Dorset by purchasing a convenience store from his brother-in-law. He went on to build business interests that included handling cargo for First Air, looking after the community’s mail contract and providing medevac services by transporting patients to the health centre and the airport.
He has helped make arrangements to have those duties taken over by others.
Schell got into politics by being voted in as mayor, serving from 2005 to 2008. He then successfully ran for South Baffin MLA, with his term running from 2008 to 2013.
He said the community has grown significantly over the past three decades, almost doubling in size to approximately 1,450 residents. As he reflects on his time in Cape Dorset, he said there’s been “good things and bad things.”
“One problem we do have – it’s in all the communities – is with liquor sometimes,” he said.
On the other hand, he enjoyed a tremendous view living so close to the Arctic Ocean.
“To be able to get out on the land (immediately) where down south you’ve got to drive for hours (to find wilderness),” he said of one of the benefits of living in Nunavut. “It’s been great… it’s going to be kind of sad to leave here.”