Head­ing back north

The Arc­tic calls once more for Stewiacke CAO Shel­don Dorey


The shim­mer­ing dance of the north­ern lights and icy wilder­ness of Canada’s Arc­tic is call­ing Shel­don Dorey home af­ter 17 years in Stewiacke.

The shim­mer­ing dance of the north­ern lights and icy wilder­ness of Canada’s Arc­tic is call­ing Shel­don Dorey home af­ter 17 years in Stewiacke.

Step­ping down as the Town of Stewiacke’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer, Dorey seized the chance to take up a sim­i­lar role at Baker Lake in Nu­navut, and he’s leav­ing this week.

“There’s vast, wide open spa­ces and I’m an out­doors kind of per­son,” said Dorey. “There’s lots of hunt­ing and fish­ing.”

While Dorey can’t wait to fly north once again, he will nonethe­less miss Nova Sco­tia and Stewiacke, which he grew to love dur­ing his 17 years there.

Wish­ing his town and coun­cil col­leagues the best of luck, Dorey said that Stewiacke “has a lot of po­ten­tial.”

“It’s with mixed emo­tions I leave again.”

“I’m sure Stewiacke will sur­vive. It’s a gor­geous lit­tle town.”

And he feels the town is in a solid po­si­tion to­day, based on past ef­forts.

“The biggest wins are prob­a­bly all the in­fra­struc­ture work that we man­aged to ac­com­plish – wa­ter, wastewater, streets, cap­i­tal pro­grams, play­grounds, that sort of stuff.”

He also said the coun­cil was good to work with.

Dorey fondly re­called his pre­vi­ous Arc­tic post­ings with the Hud­son’s Bay Com­pany, when cari­bou, wolves, foxes and rab­bits were com­mon sights on an al­most vir­gin land­scape.

At night, Dorey en­joyed reg­u­lar dis­plays of the north­ern lights in “ev­ery colour of the rain­bow.”

While snow and ice cov­ered the ground for most of the year, the brief arc­tic sum­mers brought out a riot of wild­flow­ers and re­vealed to Dorey a land cut through with seem­ingly end­less lakes.

Hav­ing be­gun his ca­reer with the Hud­son’s Bay Com­pany in Man­i­toba, Dorey trans­ferred be­tween sev­eral Arc­tic com­mu­ni­ties and fin­ished up in Nau­jaat, for­merly Repulse Bay. There, he put his skills to use as that ham­let’s se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer.

His new home of Baker Lake, also known as Qa­mani’tuaq in Inuit, is a big­ger town of more than 2,000 peo­ple lo­cated about 320 km west of Hud­son Bay. The town sits on land de­void of trees.

Most Baker Lake res­i­dents work in nearby mines and min­eral ex­plo­ration, but the town is also known for tra­di­tional Inuit art, such as basalt stone sculp­tures and wall hang­ings.

Ac­cord­ing to Dorey, peo­ple ei­ther love or hate life in such iso­lated com­mu­ni­ties, to­day made a lit­tle less re­mote through mod­ern tech­nol­ogy such as Skype and cell­phones.

“I was one of those that loved it,” said Dorey.

Dorey and his fam­ily left the arc­tic 17 years ago for their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, set­tling in Stewiacke as it was rel­a­tively close to his birth­place of New­found­land.

He and his wife, Va­lerie, have twin daugh­ters who are 27 and a son, 25.

The ap­pli­ca­tion process to re­place Dorey at the helm of Stewiacke’s administra­tive team is open un­til Fri­day.

Mayor Wendy Robin­son said a firm has been hired to re­ceive ap­pli­ca­tions, which are to be vet­ted down to ap­prox­i­mately four or five in­di­vid­u­als.

A town com­mit­tee will shortlist those can­di­dates down to one or two and then sub­mit a rec­om­men­da­tion to coun­cil.


Af­ter 17 years as Stewiacke’s CAO, Shel­don Dorey is mov­ing on. Dorey will take on a sim­i­lar role at Baker Lake in Nu­navut.

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