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  • Writer's pictureKlondike Kate

Yukon's Northlight Innovation goes into liquidation

WHITEHORSE - Competing tool library sounds death knell for North's wealthiest non-profit

Yukonstruct corruption non-profit Whitehorse Yukon

Signage was removed from the exterior of the Northlight Innovation building on Friday morning (Photo: Jeff Bursley)

In a written statement released on Thursday, the Yukonstruct Makerspace Society announced it was dissolving and liquidating its assets.

Yukonstruct is the most heavily-funded non-profit in the North and manages the now-defunct 'Northlight Innovation' building in Downtown Whitehorse.

Up until Wednesday, the facility offered shared office spaces as well as access to wood and metal-work tools for higher-income earners.

"We did exactly what the government told us to do in exchange for funding dollars" Yukonstruct's president Gary Plymouth said in the statement.

"We also offered a lifeless co-working space, a corporate environment that kept out poor people, and expensive tools that the board and staff could use on personal projects."

"We did exactly what the government told us to do in exchange for funding dollars" - Gary Plymouth, Yukonstruct president

Plymouth explained that a steady dwindling of memberships and revenue were signs that the facade had started to crack.

"People were already onto us" he said. "Now the arrival of a competing public tool library has completely exposed us as an overblown and self-serving organization."

"The new Whitehorse Tool Library is going to offer a space that is apolitical and affordable" explained Plymouth. "Worse than that, it is planning to be welcoming to the whole community. We simply can't compete."

Cash-on-tap not enough to save organization

"I don't understand how people saw through us" Yukonstruct's executive director Lisa Sherry said in a phone interview. "We had cash-on-tap from taxpayers in addition to sponsorship from companies with a track record of human rights violations such as Newmont Goldcorp."

When asked if it was a mistake for a non-profit to sell its soul to politicians and take sponsorship money from a company accused of anti-Indigenous human rights abuses, Sherry said that Yukonstruct only makes "innovative and awesome" decisions.

"Goldcorp is the official sponsor of our Virtual Reality Classroom" she said. "We felt that was a super-smart way to mask the actual reality of Goldcorp's practices in developing countries."

Yukonstruct welcomes human rights abusers Whitehorse Yukon

A page from Yukonstruct's event space brochure shows the Newmont Goldcorp Virtual Reality Clasroom (Photo: Yukonstruct)

Liquidation sale set for later this month

According to the statement released by Yukonstruct, an online liquidation sale will take place later this month. Members of the public will be able to use a credit card to purchase the non-profit's furniture and equipment. A 50% discount will be given if a buyer agrees to let the former staff and board of Yukonstruct to continue using the equipment for free.

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