A new use for the former After 8 Pub on Forrest Drive appears to be set for approval later this month after Yellowknife city council reviewed a proposal for a publicly accessible workshop during Monday’s governance and priorities committee meeting. 

After 8 Pub, known for its billiard games and screenings of Ultimate Fighting Championship closed in November after 25 years in business.
NNSL file photo

Makerspace Yk – a registered not-for-profit organization that provides training, mentorship, tools and technology to the public – is aiming to put a recreation and education style facility in the building.

A longtime neighbourhood bar and pool hall on the ground floor of a three-storey building at 5001 Forrest Drive, After 8 pub’s management announced that the establishment was closing last November after 25 years in business.  Since then, the first floor unit has sat vacant, aside from occasional use, such as a Maddy Tetreault art show in December.  

Cat McGurk, president of Makerspace Yk, explained that a future workshop would be separated into three sections – an arts space, a woodshop and hackspace for 3D printing and digital projects.

“Our big consideration is sound,” she said. “The previous tenants were a bar and were quite loud and we are installing further soundproofing and keeping sound levels (down) to respect the noise bylaw ordinances and shutting tools down at 11 p.m. Hopefully sooner, really.”

Makerspace YK will be located at the former After 8 Pub at 5001 Forrest Drive, pending final approval from Yellowknife city council.
image courtesy of the City of Yellowknife

As far as hours of operation, there has not yet been a final decision, McGurk said.

“We haven’t developed any concrete, open structure yet but it will operate similar to the  arts and crafts guild in that there will be open shop time where people can come in and it will be staffed,” she said. “There will be other times when people will have a paid access membership on a certain basis and can come in (whenever you want).

“Not anyone will get the open access, but it will apply to those who are trained and people who have agreed to certain terms of use.”   

Greg Littlefair, the city’s director of planning and economic development, said all property owners in the area have been contacted about the proposed new establishment. He said the extent to which Makerspace will have to renovate the building won’t be clear until permits for modifications are submitted.

Councillors generally voiced their support for the project but did have questions regarding the issue of noise disturbance and hours of operation.  

“I live in the area of Forrest Drive area and I think this is a great addition, noting that in previous years when After 8 was there you noticed it got a little rough later at night,” said Coun. Stacie Smith. “So I think this is a great addition and it will help the neighhourhood. There are plenty of families that live up and down Forrest Drive and many kids that will go over to the corner store. I think it will make it a safer space for families that live from Lanky all the way down Forrest Drive. So I think this is excellent.” 

Council is expected to make a final decision on the subject at the March 22 regular council meeting. Coun. Julian Morse, who is employed with the Makerspace, declared a financial interest and won’t vote on the proposal.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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