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Packed premises spell penalties for pub

Hearing 003

The owner of a city bar who allowed almost double the number of permitted patrons inside his business for a Chase the Ace event has been hit with a fine and a suspension following a hearing Tuesday.

Jamie Snow, owner of After 8 Pub in Yellowknife, was handed a $1,000 fine after the NWT Liquor Licencing Board ruled he failed to comply with capacity regulations.

The hearing and subsequent ruling stemmed from an April 21 incident in which liquor inspectors attended the Forrest Dr. pub during a packed Chase the Ace event.

According to an agreed statement of facts, multiple head counts determined the crowd size to be well over the establishment's occupancy load limit of 133, with as many as 217 bar-goers tallied.

Inspectors on site barred additional patrons from entering the pub, and halted alcohol sales until patrons filtered out and capacity standards were met.

Along with a fine, Snow was dealt a one-day suspension, meaning he must shutter the pub's doors on a Friday. Snow opted to close his doors on Friday, Dec.1.

A prosecutor representing the Government of the Northwest Territories recommended the monetary penalty and single day suspension after weighing the case's aggravating and mitigating factors, the former being the "gross" overcrowding during the event, and the latter being Snow's cooperation during and after the incident, as well as his otherwise clean record when it comes to violations.

Snow's lawyer, Jack Williams, told representatives from the board and the GNWT that he and his client accepted the ruling, but added that big crowd-drawing events like Chase the Ace are hard to reign in.

"If theses events are going to continue, I think all licence holders are going to have some extreme planning to do as to how they're going to deal with it especially when the value of the (Chase the Ace) winnings increases," said Williams.

Following Tuesday's decision from the board, Snow told Yellowknifer he was satisfied with the results and plans to carry on his hosting duties of raffle nights.

"We will continue holding events like Chase the Ace and will be more prepared, with safety more in mind," Snow said.

To prevent overcrowding – and more visits from liquor inspectors – Snow said he intends to issue wristbands and personally work the door himself.