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Fire latest calamity for Wade Hamer Mini Golf

Miranda Scotland
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2012

After financial loss, break-ins and vandalism, the Wade Hamer Mini Golf course was hit by another misfortune Monday afternoon when its pro shop caught fire.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Wade Hamer Mini Golf course pro shop caught on fire Monday afternoon. Firefighters worked to put out the blaze, which was reportedly started by a faulty mini-fridge. - Miranda Scotland /NNSL photo

Flames engulfed the back half of the mini-golf pro shop on Franklin Avenue near the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool, leaving it a blackened version of its former self by the time firefighters put the flames out.

The mini-golf site is leased by the Yellowknife Women's Society, a registered charitable organization which, among other projects, also runs the Centre for Northern Families.

The fire department has determined that the cause of the fire was an old mini-fridge that had been left plugged in to an electrical outlet, said Mayor Gord Van Tighem, adding that foul play is not suspected.

The fire was contained within the pro shop and the cost of the damage is thought to be minimal, said Van Tighem.

"There was a group in town that was looking at rebuilding it and a lot of the rebuilding would be undertaken with donations. So other than the cost of cleanup that is going to be involved right now, there shouldn't be a whole bunch of expense related to it," said Van Tighem.

Arlene Hache, executive director of the Yellowknife Women's Society, declined to comment on the incident.

The Yellowknife Women's Society took possession of the golf course in 2006 with an aim to provide inexpensive recreational activities to children from low-income families.

But the Wade Hamer Mini Golf course has struggled with its finances, losing money every year. In 2010 the society was granted a one-year reprieve on property tax for the golf course to help it gain financial stability.

The group did not reopen the site last summer, although that didn't stop people from visiting. Vandals broke into the facility's office and trashed it. They also lit the 18th hole on fire.

The society's lease of the golf course from the city is set to expire at the end of this month.

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